April 21, 2017 10:15 am
Updated: April 21, 2017 11:16 pm

Sunset field ‘trashed’: Will be closed for weeks following 4/20 event

WATCH: Vancouver taxpayers are on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars, and a public field is a mess, after the 4/20 protest at Sunset Beach. Jill Bennett has the details.

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The Vancouver Park Board says Sunset field, where part of the 4/20 event was held on Thursday, will need to be closed for weeks because it is “trashed.”

“Maybe Woodstock 2017?,” said Howard Normann, director of parks with the City of Vancouver. “Maybe not quite that bad but if you’re walking through there you’re going to ruin your shoes.”

WATCH: According to Vancouver Park Board officials, the field at Sunset Beach, where tens of thousands of people gathered for the 4/20 rally Thursday, is now a muddy mess. As Jordon Armstrong reports, it could take weeks to repair.

The combination of rain and the crowds on Thursday means the field will need reseeding. Normann says they wish the organizers of the 4/20 event required vendors to put down wooden boards to protect the grass. Some of the vendors did put down the boards, but not everyone was required to do so.

However, the field was not in perfect condition before the event.

“The spring that we’ve had and the winter that we’ve had, it really hasn’t had a chance to dry out,” said Normann. “And if you remember last year, it was quite dry in the spring. It makes a huge difference.”

“[So] we have to close it down for a few weeks and it depends on the weather, but yeah, it’s pretty trashed.”

Thousands of people flocked to Sunset Beach Park on Thursday for the annual 4/20 rally. People hung out on the beach and the field during the event, which lasted for hours.

Organizers promised they wouldn’t leave behind piles of garbage this year and the clean-up lasted through the night.

 

The beach and the seawall will stay open when the field is closed.

The cost of the clean-up is still being tallied, but the Park Board says crews collected between five and six thousand pounds of trash and volunteers from 4/20 stayed through the night to help clean-up the garbage left behind.

Vancouver Police at the peak of the event, approximately 40,000 people and 525 tents were gathered at Sunset Beach Park. An estimated 150 people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Police say first responders were called to 39 medical emergencies, with 19 people being taken to hospital for treatment.

Officers also issued eight driving suspensions for the consumption of drugs, and two drivers were criminally charged with impaired driving.

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