Sunset Beach Park will be closed for up to 10 weeks as staff clean up and repair damage after 40,000 people packed the area during the annual 4/20 event.
According to the Vancouver Park Board, staff have to close the field for “major rehabilitation.”
WATCH: Sunset Beach Park closed for ‘major rehabilitation’
The board had refused to grant a permit to the event, noting it was an inappropriate use of the space and that it has had “negative consequences for park users and infrastructure.”
“This has now been three years in Sunset Park, our park can’t take the abuse anymore,” said Stuart Mackinnon with the board. “Even this year is going to be hard for our park staff to be able to remediate this field.”
Before the event took place, organizers said they would cover the costs of sanitation, traffic control and engineering, but not policing.
Last year the total bill for the city following the event was just under $250,000, including policing.
“Next spring, even if they don’t come down here, next spring we are still going to be seeing the result of three years of misuse of this park,” Mackinnon said.
But not everyone agreed with the board’s estimate of the damage. Pot activist Jodie Emery said the park was left the same way organizers found it.
“They take one photo of a pile of garbage or a mud puddle to try and make us look like bad people,” Emery said.
She said this year organizers spent $30,000 on ground covers to protect the grass.
“The park and the beach are completely clear. There is no garbage, there is no destruction, there’s no damage. There are some muddy parts, but they were muddy before,” Emery said.
- With files from Amy Judd