Sylvan Lake RCMP overwhelmed by Saturday’s crowded waterfront

“The sheer number of people at the beach is an indication that enforcement is not the solution.”

Sylvan Lake RCMP say they were overwhelmed by the number of beach-goers who were non-compliant with public health orders Saturday.

Police they say chose to focus their efforts on other “priority community safety concerns,” including drinking offences and driving violations.

“A decision had to be made in terms of the most effective use of the RCMP resources,” the detachment says in a statement.

It was an “implausible task” for local members to begin educating and enforcing the public health order, says the statement.

As such, no enforcement tickets were issued for breach of the order Saturday.

ALSO READ: Controlling beach is ‘difficult,’ says Sylvan Lake

“The sheer number of people at the beach is an indication that enforcement is not the solution,” said police.

An enforcement ticket for breach of the public health order is $1,200.

“The thousands of Albertans who demonstrated a disappointing disrespect for the order put themselves and the citizens of the community of Sylvan Lake at risk,” the press release says.

Sylvan Lake RCMP say public safety is their No. 1 priority and they are committed to working with Alberta Health Services.

The province has lifted some of the restrictions around gatherings. Currently, outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people are permitted. Families are also able to socialize with up to 15 other families, or cohorts.

Physical distancing of two metres between households or cohorts should remain in place, says the province.

Only RCMP officers and AHS staff are able to issue non-compliance tickets for breach of the Public Health Order.

The Town of Sylvan Lake says the number of people at the beach Saturday was near or at capacity.

The waterfront area in Sylvan Lake was not the only place to experience overcrowding. Many other popular destinations, such as Alberta Beach, Gull Lake and Lake Louise, were busy on the warm summer weekend.

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