British Columbia

Unauthorized Vancouver street party draws hundreds

Police feared the worst, concerned that an unauthorized street party planned on Commercial Drive Friday night would draw thousands and turn violent.

Crowds disrupt traffic, but street party relatively peaceful

A crowd of about 500 spilled onto Commercial Drive Friday night during an unauthorized street party. The event remained relatively peaceful. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Police feared the worst, concerned that an unauthorized street party planned for Commercial Drive Friday night would draw thousands and turn violent. But in the end, about 500 partygoers converged on the busy street, disrupting traffic but little else.

It was a far cry from the rowdy May Day  street event from the same organizers, which turned violent last May. That event drew about 5,000 and a person was sent to hospital with stab wounds.

Still, police sent about 100 officers to Commercial Drive Friday night, just in case.

Earlier in the day, the City of Vancouver said unauthorized parties like these cost the city money.

City spokesperson Tobin Postma said event organizers deliberately refused to obtain a permit.

"The purpose of event approvals is to make sure that events are safe, and don't negatively affect the community," said Postma.

"They also help to cover city costs for cleanup and policing, should they be required."

He said the cost of the permits, which for an event of this size would cost about $1,000, helps pay for post-event cleanup.

Vancouver Police Sgt. Randy Fincham said the May party made a mess of the area.

"Unfortunately people in the neighbourhood woke up to some damage in the neighbourhood, as well as front yards being used as a washroom facility," said Vancouver Police Sgt. Randy Fincham.