RED DEER COUNTY - A 12-hour party that saw up to 500 young people in the Garrington Bridge area has resulted in numerous provincial and Criminal Code charges, along with frustration from area residents who were kept awake all night long due to party noise and non-stop explosions of fireworks.
“This is concerning behaviour which has become very unfortunate for people who reside in this area, their ability to enjoy their homes and their property has obviously been impacted,” said Eiler, adding residents in the area RCMP were “frustrated” as they were kept awake all night long by the party noise, which included setting off fireworks all night long.
“Further to this RCMP are concerned with the criminal behaviour as well as the health concerns which are obvious.”
Mounties got their first call about the wild party, located about 32 kilometres west of Bowden near the intersection of Highway 587 and Rge. Rd. 43, at about 7 p.m. on July 25. The party continued until 7 a.m. the following morning, with a report that about 40 vehicles were still at the scene.
Eiler said all available Mounties from the Innisfail detachment were sent to the scene and at least one member from the Sundre detachment also attended. She said Mounties were forced to respond to 11 calls for service during a 12-hour period.
“This kind of thing does tax our resources to the extreme. When we are dedicating these kinds of resources to this kind of activity it means other calls for service are being delayed,” said Eiler. That becomes a very dangerous situation.”
Eiler said the calls for service ranged from damaged property, driving complaints, liquor offences, stolen property, uttering threats, and one report of possession of a weapon dangerous to public peace.
Eiler said while RCMP were responding to complaints and attempting to keep the peace, a Sundre RCMP vehicle had its window smashed out by an unknown individual.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials attended the scene as well to investigate a deer that was found deceased near the location of the party. Eiler said more than a dozen provincial and Criminal Code charges were laid.
She said it is estimated the wild party at its peak had a maximum of up to 500 young people attending. She said she could not say how long the wild partying has been going on this summer, and whether it had been a problem in that area in past years.
“I don’t know what is bringing them to the area, other than the fact it is Crown land and it’s a nice place to go. It could be that people are tired of being cooped up with the COVID situation. I am not sure,” said Eiler, adding there was some camping going on but the focus is “just to party.”
Eiler said RCMP members returned to the scene the following day to look over the damage and found human feces, toilet paper, garbage, empty alcohol containers, stolen traffic signs, and COVID social distancing signs, which were “obviously” stolen from Innisfail, littering the ground.
She said RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the Garrington Bridge area for the rest of the summer and into the fall, with Mounties showing zero tolerance for any repeat unruly incident.
“We can’t ignore that kind of behaviour,” said Eiler. “We will respond in a way that is adequate to ensure public safety.”