Kimberley’s annual JulyFest weekend is upon us and things appear to be shaping up very well. The Kimberley Chamber was reporting 210 bocce teams signed up — a high for recent JulyFests — the intense heat is forecast to lessen to a more manageable 25 degrees C and the city is beginning to buzz as visitors arrive.
And the Kimberley RCMP are ready, their resources bolstered with members from other East Kootenay detachments. Traditionally the Kimberley Detachment reaches out to other detachments for assistance for this weekend, says Officer in Charge Cpl. Chris Newel.
“There will be extra officers in town brought in to supplement our resources,” Newel said. “Every Kimberley officer is slated to work at least two shifts over the weekend. We have the full complement of Kimberley members — no holidays are scheduled for JulyFest. We solicit from Creston to Cranbrook to the Elk Valley and Columbia Valley. We also work closely with Traffic Services. They don’t police the actual event but they are there for impaired driving and other traffic offences. Often they will be on the outskirts of town or the avenues leading up to the event.”
There will also be a large contingent of auxiliary officers assisting, Newel said.
That’s a lot of police and they do stay very visible throughout the weekend. It’s a formula that works, Newel says.
“I have been told by some people that it’s over-policed, but it is a family event, a fun event, and we want everybody to have a good time. A good police presence curtails criminal activity and everyone can enjoy themselves.”
This police presence has led to some very successful JulyFests in the past. Last year, despite very large crowds, there were only a few impaired driving charges and subjects arrested for being over-intoxicated.
“It has gone very well in the past few years,” Newel said. “We’ve been happy with the behaviour of people as a whole. There are lots of designated drivers — which is good to see — lots of people walking. That does lead to noise complaints so we do ask people to be courteous.
“But overall, we haven’t had any major incidents and we want to keep it that way. Hopefully that will continue for years to come. I know the Chamber is happy with the numbers for this year.”
One thing Newel would like to remind Festers about is public consumption of alcohol, meaning on the streets and the parking lots.
“Please leave your liquor at home and consume your alcohol in the bocce pits or other licensed establishments. The fine for public consumption of alcohol is $230. That’s an expensive beer and can put a real damper on your weekend.”