Nelson police say an all ages party at The Royal Saturday night didn’t allow liquor, but many people decided to drink en route and outside the event.
Sgt. Paul Bayes said in a news release that they were busy with “numerous cases” of drinking in public, carrying open liquor, and minors in possession of liquor throughout the evening.
“With excessive drinking came the littering of cans and broken bottles in the streets and alleys,” he said. One man was caught urinating in shrubbery beside the road.
Several tickets were issued. Fines range from $115 for being drunk in public to $230 for consuming or carrying open liquor.
The Royal re-opened Saturday without a liquor license after being closed for two weeks following a dispute between the management team that was about to end its lease on the venue and the owner of the building. The two parties could not agree on terms for the transfer the liquor licence.
The building owner, Luke Menkes, is now running The Royal as a liquor-free, all ages venue until a new license can be secured.
Menkes said security at Saturday’s event were careful to assure no alcohol entered the premises. Bags were searched and intoxicated patrons were turned away. But it’s difficult to control what happens outside the venue.
“It’s a case of a few bad apples ruining it for everyone,” Menkes said. “The event was completely sold out … the majority of people inside were well behaved and it’s unfortunate that some people felt they needed to go outside for a few drinks because they couldn’t do that inside.”
He says he’ll be working with police to make sure there aren’t similar issues at future all ages events.
“No one — myself included — wants to put money and energy behind something that is going to end up becoming a problem for the community of Nelson,” Menkes said. “We hope that the law-abiding kids — who represent the vast majority — will exercise peer pressure on their friends to quit it with public drinking, littering, and otherwise interfering with such fantastic and fun events. That behaviour is not cool and if it continues, it will ruin it for all of us.”
Sgt. Bayes noted in the release that the tickets handed out Saturday will also serve as a deterrent for those that want to take their drinking to the streets.
“Sadly the only person the seemed to have benefited from the evening was a local bottle picker,” Bayes said. “She managed to gather two full blue recycling bags of cans and bottles around the 300 block Baker Street in a short time.”