British Columbia

Park board official hopes field used for 4/20 will be restored in time for Canada Day

Clean-up crews spent the night trying to clean up Sunset Beach in Vancouver after 4/20 celebrations left a 'muddy, soggy' mess, according to a park board official.

'I'm just standing near a pile of spaghetti so I guess we are going to have the birds coming in soon'

Crews spent the night removing garbage from the Sunset Beach park area where 4/20 marijuana protest/celebrations drew 40,000 people on April 20. (Gian Paolo Mendoza)

Vancouver clean-up crews worked overnight to tidy Sunset Beach park after 4/20 celebrations attracted 40,000 revellers who left their mark on the football-sized field, a park board official said.

Every year, the marijuana protest party brings thousands to this site, but park board officials don't sanction it, and say they wish organizers would move 4/20 on to a spot that's more suitable, such as the PNE.

This was touted as the last 4/20 before legalization, as new rules about pot are expected by summer from Ottawa.

The 140 vendors and thousands of patrons damaged the soggy field and left piles of tenting, garbage and food behind. This year, there were two arrests. Also, 35 people — four underage — were treated at St. Paul's Hospital in connection with the event. 

Pot activist Jodie Emery questioned claims that the cannabis celebration damaged the park, saying organizers raised $30,000 for the concert-grade turf cover that was used to preserve the field.

She posted photos on Twitter yesterday comparing the park both before and after the event.

She said the field looks the same, with green grass and mud puddles.

Dana Larsen, the organizer of 4/20, spent the night helping clean up with the hopes of causing less damage than last year.

Park workers said that's hard to gauge as the field was wetter.

Sunrise at Sunset Beach in Vancouver, and most of the garbage has been hauled away after the 4/20 gathering of cannabis enthusiasts on April 20, 2018. Every year, the event, which is not sanctioned by the park board, draws ire over the mess left behind. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The hope is the area will be restore in time for Canada Day, said park board chair Stuart MacKinnon.

"It's very soggy, quite muddy," said MacKinnon as he stood on the sodden party ground.

Vendor tents sprawl beyond the area set up by organizers. Dana Larsen, one of the organizers, estimated 300 vendors were selling wares at this year's event. (CBC)

MacKinnon said the field will need to be fenced off, allowed to dry and then aerated and seeded.

The concern is that all the garbage left behind may get punched down into the soil.

"One of the problems is there's an awful lot of cigarette butts and glass and plastic here.  I'm sure there's a lot of other butts down here as well," he said.

But he was hopeful, at least, that more help was coming to aid clean up.

"I'm just standing near a pile of spaghetti so I guess we are going to have the birds coming in soon," said MacKinnon.

People clamour for the free cannabis give-aways as the annual 4/10 event in Vancouver reaches its climax. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

About the Author

Yvette Brend is a Vancouver journalist. or on Twitter or Instagram @ybrend