British Columbia

'A little wear and tear': 420 organizer says damage to Sunset Beach minimal as cleanup begins

Jeremiah Vandermeer, who works with Cannabis Culture and is also a 420 organizer, said three crews were out collecting garbage after the event.

Police say there were no 'major incidents' at Saturday's event

The event, which organizers describe as a protest, has in the past been criticized for damaging the park, and putting taxpayers on the line for cleanup. (CBC)

As the cleanup from Saturday's 420 event begins, organizers say the damage to Sunset Beach is minimal with only normal "wear and tear" to the park.

Vancouver police said about 60,000 people attended the event at its peak, with 400 vendor tents set up. 

There were 14 medical emergencies at the event, but no "major incidents," police said. 

Jeremiah Vandermeer, who works with Cannabis Culture and is also a 420 organizer, said three crews were out collecting garbage after the event.

Crews work early Sunday morning to clean the field. (CBC)

"Any city event, if it's held in a field that has grass on it, there's going to be some wear and tear there. This is the same with fireworks or any of the other events we have in this city," he said.

"Of course with 420, with that many people coming out, we did have a little wear and tear on the grass."

The Vancouver Park Board said in a written statement that staff are currently assessing the condition of the field and will determine a treatment plan in the coming days. 

The event, which organizers describe as a protest, has in the past been criticized for damaging the park, and putting taxpayers on the hook for the cleanup.

West End resident Christin Fernandes says she makes a point each year of cleaning up the festival's left-over garbage the following morning.

"It's my neighbourly duty, I think we should all do it," said Fernandes.

"It's a well-attended event, and with the addition of the rock band, I'm sure it was a huge disturbance."

Fellow West Ender Mike Mracek echoed Fernandes' comments as he picked up garbage strewn across the beach.

"It's somewhat better than it has been in the past," said Mracek. "I don't support the event ... but I can see that every year they try and do a better and better job [of cleaning up]."

Vandermeer said organizers of the event, which was previously held at the Vancouver Art Gallery, would be open to considering alternative locations if one were proposed.

People celebrate during the annual 420 protest at Sunset Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

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