Quesnel’s annual festival celebrates Billy Barker, who struck gold in the Cariboo. The event features a parade, amusement rides, live entertainment and a rodeo. Melanie Law photo

Almost 50 people held in cells during annual summer festival in central B.C.

Billy Barker Days is one of Northern B.C.’s largest festivals, and local RCMP were kept on their toes

Almost 50 people were held in cells during an annual summer festival in Quesnel, B.C. last weekend.

Quesnel RCMP were busy during the city’s annual Billy Barker Days event, saying the number of calls to RCMP were up at the 2018 festival compared with 2016. The 2017 festival was cancelled due to wildfires in the Cariboo.

Between 6 p.m. on Thursday July 19 and 6 a.m. on Monday July 23, Quesnel RCMP responded to 173 calls. In 2016, calls totalled 149.

A total of 33 people were arrested for causing a disturbance or being intoxicated and unable to care for themselves in public, say the RCMP – the same number were arrested for that reason in 2016. And 15 people were arrested for other criminal code offences, which was triple the number arrested in 2016.

This included one man arrested in relation to a fatal stabbing at a home in Quesnel on the Saturday of Billy Barker Days.

A total of 49 people were held in cells over the weekend, and there were six immediate roadside prohibitions issued for alcohol-related offences. In 2016, 38 people were held in cells and there were four roadside prohibitions issued.

Quesnel RCMP say they always increase police presence for the festival, with thousands of people flocking to the city for the annual event.

“Billy Barker Days is one of the busiest festivals in Northern B.C. … You will see more members out ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves in a lawful manner,” Quesnel RCMP Sgt. Chris Riddle told Black Press.

The local Billy Barker Days Society, which puts on the event, says thousands of people attend events in the city’s centrally located park every day during the event. The festival celebrate’s the region’s gold rush history.

“With the increase in population comes the increase in call volume. That doesn’t necessarily mean there are more problems, but if you bring an extra 5,000 to town, that’s an extra 5,000 that could potentially cause issues,” Riddle explained.

Riddle said some members of Northern Traffic Services are brought to the city, and Quesnel RCMP members are redeployed from their regular postings to be visible around town.

RCMP officers patrolled the downtown areas on foot and bicycle, and there were extra patrol cars on the roads.

The news comes after recent Stats Canada information indicates that Quesnel’s crime rate was almost four times the national average in 2017.



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A member of the Quesnel RCMP hands out stickers in the city’s main park. The local detachment increased membership in town over Billy Barker Days, with the increase in population. It was a prudent move, with calls to RCMP up between Thursday and Sunday of the festival. Melanie Law photo

Just Posted

Chilliwack is home to Sasquatch, the first Canadian-designed hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, the Sasquatch hop is the country’s first patented hops plant

Retro meets modern design with idea for iconic Paramount sign

Proposed Paramount Project plans for downtown Chilliwack unveiled Monday

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Flight Fest to take off in Chilliwack once again

After a year-long break, Flight Fest is returning to the Chilliwack airport

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Metro Vancouver water reservoirs in ‘good shape’

Reserves sitting at 70-per-cent full, officials said, despite long stretch without major rain

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

Most Read