After thousands of dollars in damages to local businesses last by May long weekend partiers, stakeholders in the resort have been working to create an event at that time of year to boost hotel rates and displace negative elements.
Over the years, Lower Mainland grad classes have made coming to Whistler a tradition, and it’s become one of the busiest weekends of the year for policing in the village. Vandalism is an annual issue, as are public drunkenness, fights and unprovoked attacks on others.
At last week’s (Dec. 17) council meeting, the RMOW confirmed that Crankworx Events Inc., a private company owned by Whistler Blackcomb, has been retained to produce the May long weekend festival or event, which will have a budget of $290,000.
What that festival will look like is still unknown, but one example used at council is Whistler’s New Year’s eve celebration. New Year’s also used to be a challenging night in the resort, but the creation of a First Night event — evolving into a homegrown event — has solved many of the issues, while creating a wide range of fun family activities throughout the village.
Crankworx manager Darren Kinnaird said they’ve only had one meeting on the festival, but will be hiring staff in the New Year as the 2014 May Long Weekend Committee finalizes plans.
Kinnaird wouldn’t say what ideas were being discussed, but everything is on the table from live music to a sporting event.
“We’ve only had the one brainstorming session, but we know we want to celebrate that unique time of the year — how to do that exactly is still to be determined.”
Kinnaird said the seed funding of $290,000 for the festival was significant. “It’s a good start to get things going, and we’ll hopefully be able to find alternative sources as well,” he said.
The committee will include six members, including representatives from the RCMP, the accommodation sector, the food and beverage sector, council and community services. Councillor John Grills was also confirmed as the council representative.