New Revelstoke fines to target after-bar fighting, public urination, vandalism

A proposed new bylaw would create new fines for public nuisance issues like drunkenness, fighting, urinating in public and vomiting

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Revelstoke police hope a new nuisance bylaw will help them get a handle on after-hours rowdiness. Photo: Jose Martin Mendoza via Flickr Creative Commons

The Revelstoke RCMP are seeking new tools to crack down on drunken rowdiness after the bars let out. They want new municipal fines to crack down on public urination, vomiting, fighting and other nuisance behaviours.

Complaints and public nuisance offences typically go up every winter, a fact Revelstoke RCMP Staff Sergeant Kurt Grabinsky allots to the higher number of temporary residents.

“In winter, ski season, snowmobiling season, those who are staying here either temporary or for a few months, when they’re out and making their way from the downtown core bar [scene], to home or accommodation, it does disturb a lot of people along those routes,” he said.

Most complaints are received in the evening regarding noise and fighting or in the morning for vandalism such as broken windows.

“[It’s] especially after bar closing,” Grabinsky said.

“A lot of complaints are about bottles and cans and broken glass the following day after a bit of a town party. Lots of complaints after how the streets look after an evening with vomit and the smell of urine in back alleys and parkways.”

Revelstoke RCMP receive more public nuisance complaints in the winter, especially after the bars close. Photo: Emily Kemp/Revelstoke Mountaineer.
Revelstoke RCMP receive more public nuisance complaints in the winter, especially after the bars close. Photo: Emily Kemp/Revelstoke Mountaineer

In Revelstoke, police issue about 15–20 fines for public intoxication each month, more so in the winter, and currently each month about 40 people spend the night in lock-up.

After research into other resort towns such as Whistler and Banff, the focus now is to develop a public nuisance bylaw, which will mirror the provincial bylaw but allows ticket revenue to flow directly to the city.

“We place them in cells, and they are imprisoned for a period of time to sober up and be safe to themselves,” Staff-Sgt. Grabinsky said.

“The city bears that cost. There’s an opportunity for them to instead of using a provincial ticket, a municipal bylaw ticket can be issued, and fines can go into a municipal coffer to pay for those services that have already been rendered.”

At the last Security Standing Committee meeting, the committee asked city staff to develop this new bylaw, which will then be processed through council. The item is in the minutes on agenda of the April 28 Revelstoke City Council agenda, although it’s not up for discussion or a vote at this point.

“I think it will be several months before the bylaw is approved, we’re hoping to have it in place for this winter’s ski season,” Grabinsky said.

“The goal is not to generate revenue, the goal is to create the type of community that people really want to live in here.”