Editor's note: this story has been updated since first posting as more information was made available by West Vancouver Police.
West Vancouver police say reckless behaviour in the face of the pandemic has got to stop after officers busted up a party of between 200 and 300 teens and young adults in the British Properties in the early hours of Aug. 29.
Police were called to a home in the 1500 block of Errigal Place after receiving noise complaints from neighbours about 10 p.m. on Friday Aug. 28 and arrived to find a large-scale party underway, said Sgt. Greg Trenholm of the West Vancouver police.
Two hundred to 300 people between the ages of about 17 and 20 were at the party, which had a professional DJ. Promoters had been advertising the party on social media and were charging admission to get in, added Trenholm.
The party clearly violated the provincial health officer’s orders not to hold gatherings of more than 50 people, said Trenholm, adding nobody at the party appeared to be practising social distancing or taking any other precautions. Youthful partygoers appeared to have come from all over the Lower Mainland to attend the event and many scattered when police arrived.
Const. Kevin Goodmurphy, spokesman for the West Vancouver police, said most of the teens and young adults attending the party did not appear to be from West Vancouver.
One of the promoters of the party was fined $230. Fines of up to $2,000 are possible for those who host large gatherings.
Goodmurphy said Tuesday the event is still under investigation and it is unclear who was actually hosting the party. It appears organizers had rented the home as a short-term rental.
Goodmurphy added a number of fights broke out at the party both before and after police arrived. One 19-year-old man from Surrey suffered a significant laceration to his face that will likely involve reconstructive surgery, said Goodmurphy.
Police are continuing to investigate that as a case of assault causing bodily harm, he said.
West Vancouver police have received several complaints in recent weeks about large parties that people believe are violating COVID-19 rules. For the most part, however, the complaints have been unfounded, said Trenholm. The highest number of recent COVID-19 cases has been among people 20-29, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s medical health officer, who released new statistics on the pandemic Thursday afternoon.
People in their 20s and 30s now make up the largest number of cases, and positive tests have spiked in that age group since the beginning of July.
Younger people are also transmitting the virus more at private parties, bars and restaurants. Most children and older people have been transmitting the virus through household contacts, workplaces or in a health care or long-term care setting.