Vancouver police attend Stanley Park drum circles after alleged lifeguard assault

WATCH: The weekly drum circle event at Third Beach in Stanley Park is no doubt popular. But as Christa Dao reports, with allegations of a lifeguard being assaulted and police now monitoring the crowd, some feel the unsanctioned event has become too rowdy.

The extremely popular weekly drum circles at Stanley Park’s Third Beach continued Tuesday evening, with hundreds in attendance.

Those attending included Vancouver police officers and park rangers but noticeably absent were any lifeguards on duty.

The Vancouver Park Board announced lifeguards will once again end their patrol at Third Beach at 7 p.m., an hour and a half earlier than normal due to “safety concerns.”

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Concerns over the safety of lifeguards have been front and centre, where according to the park board, lifeguards were allegedly harassed and assaulted while trying to reach a swimmer last month.

“When you have about 4,000 folks on the beach, it makes it really challenging for lifeguards to get to the person they had to rescue,” said Donnie Rosa, Vancouver Park Board’s general manager.

“We had a person who was unconscious at the edge of the water and the lifeguards on their way to make that rescue were assaulted.”

The early end to lifeguard shifts will continue every Tuesday evening, replaced by police and park rangers.

The park board said the indefinite move comes as it works to establish a long-term strategy to manage the large crowds and bylaw infractions.

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Those in attendance Tuesday evening said they support having a police presence at the beach.

“I come here to enjoy the music (as medicine),” said George Demorest, an attendee.

He said he saw the alleged assault last month.

“The beauty of having the police here, is to get rid of all the dumb (people) who make the situation worse (for everybody),” Demorest said.

“It was people who were not drumming that behaved badly.”

Vancouver Park Board says a risk assessment will be made later this week to determine whether lifeguards can safely return to the third beach on Tuesday evenings.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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