THE following are Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer’s remarks on the Celebration of Light fireworks:
The Celebration of Light is going to be a great event, like it is every year, and we’re happy to have everybody coming downtown from all parts of Metro Vancouver.
As you know, every year the Celebration of Light attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all across Metro Vancouver to downtown Vancouver. The crowds spread from Third Beach, Second Beach, English Bay, Sunset Beach, Kitsilano, and up to Jericho Beach – around that whole horseshoe of English Bay.
We’re not expecting any major disruptions. There will be the usual traffic disruptions that you’re used to, of course, but other than that we’re not expecting anything out of the ordinary. We have very robust plans in place to make sure that everybody is safe during this event. We will have a large number of officers deployed amongst the crowds to ensure families and everyone come down is safe, and feels safe. There will be several hundred officers working during all three nights of the Celebration of Light.
We will have Mounted Unit officers out on horseback, regular patrol officers, and marine officers out on the police boats. We’re going to have our Public Safety Unit out there, with specially trained officers who have the expertise and training dealing with large crowds. We will have officers on bicycles, officers on motorbikes, community safety personnel, and traffic safety officers directing traffic. Air One will be monitoring the crowds from the air, rounding out a large police presence to ensure we don’t have any trouble that night. We find that the visible presence of police officers helps deter any alcohol-fuelled fights that may happen during the night.
We are working very closely with our partners with the City of Vancouver Parks and Engineering, the BC Ambulance Service, Vancouver Fire, Metro Vancouver Transit Police, to make sure this is a safe event for everyone coming into the city.
We will be enforcing the provincial liquor laws, like we do every year — on our streets, in the parks, and on our transit systems. This includes drinking in public and underage drinking. As a reminder to people, drinking alcohol in public is illegal, and the fine is $230 if you’re caught consuming liquor in a public place. If you are under 19 years of age, which is a minor in British Columbia, we’ll be contacting your parents and having them come and deal with you.
There are three licensed venues this year surrounding this year’s Celebration of Light. The first one will be the YVR Fan Zone, which you might be familiar with from previous years at English Bay. It seats about 1,200 people. Two new ones this year will be at Sunset Beach, with 750 liquor seats, and the Inukshuk, which will be a small one with about 300 seats. There’s plans in place with our officers and private security to deal with those venues.
On event nights, we will have our media relations officers out there. On Saturday night, Constable Brian Montague will be the contact and, of course, we will have regular updates through Twitter @VancouverPD, with Sandra Glendinning as our social media officer. I’ll be out on Saturday night, wandering around, seeing how things are going, and will be tweeting on my Twitter account @ChiefPalmer, as well.
TRANSLINK says that Transit customers can expect additional bus and train service on July 25, July 29 and August 1 to ensure safe and convenient access to the Celebration of Light fireworks at English Bay.
Bus service will be extended to accommodate increased customer demand. Transit supervisors will monitor service and deploy additional buses as needed. Some buses will be detoured, including, but not limited to, the C21, C23, 5, 6, and 22 routes. The 250, 250A and 257 buses will also see additional service before and after the events.
SkyTrain Expo / Millennium / Canada Lines will run additional trains beginning mid-afternoon, lasting well past the event end. The last train on the Expo/Millennium Line will leave Waterfront for King George at 1:16 a.m. The last Canada Line train will leave Waterfront for Richmond-Brighouse at 1:15 a.m.
To avoid lineups at ticket vending machines after the events, SkyTrain customers can pre-purchase return tickets at King George, Scott Road, Granville, Burrard, Bridgeport, Yaletown-Roundhouse and Vancouver City Centre stations. These fareboxes only accept exact cash and tickets are valid until the close of service.
SeaBus will provide extra and extended service for each of the Celebration of Light events.
* July 25: service every 10 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.; every 15 minutes until 11:30 p.m.; and every 30 minutes after 11:30 p.m. until the last sailing at 1:22 a.m. from the South Terminal.
* July 29 and August 1: service every 15 minutes until 11:30 p.m. and then every 30 minutes until the last departure from the South Terminal at 1:22 a.m.
West Coast Express will offer a special train on August 1 only, leaving Mission City at 7 p.m., arriving at Waterfront Station at 8:15 p.m. The return train departs Waterfront Station at midnight, arriving back at Mission City approximately 1:15 a.m.
Before, during and after the events SkyTrain stations will remain open, but some will have modified access to ensure customer comfort and safety. Passengers will not be permitted to board SkyTrain with bikes after the events until crowds are clear.
Waterfront Station: After 10:30 p.m., all Canada Line and SeaBus customers, and Expo and Millennium line customers who need an elevator, can access the Waterfront Station through the Cordova Street entrance. Expo and Millennium line customers who do not require an elevator may only access the station from the Howe Street entrance, north of Cordova. The Granville and Hastings entrance will remain fully accessible for Canada Line customers.
Granville Station: Customers can enter the station from Dunsmuir Street only, after 10:30 p.m. Also, there will be no access to Expo and Millennium trains heading towards Waterfront Station after this time.
Burrard Station: Bikes cannot be locked at the station entrance from 9 p.m. onwards, until the expected crowds have cleared. There will be no customer access to Expo and Millennium trains towards Waterfront Station after 10:30 p.m.
TravelSmart continues to sponsor BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which will offer cyclists free, secure temporary bike storage at all three Celebration of Light events. If you plan on enjoying the festivities, you can valet your bike at Sunset Beach on the grass next to the roller sports rink from 6 to 11:30 p.m.
For transit service information including bus re-routes during the Celebration of Light, sign up for Transit Alerts, follow at @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333.