Mounties Brace for Big Canadian Music Fest
The RCMP is ready for the Craven Country Jamboree to be held starting this week near Regina, Saskatchewan.
“Last year, we had 160 prisoners in cells from the event,” said Sgt. Craig Cleary of the Lumsden detachment of the RCMP. “This year, certainly there’s an expectation, unfortunately, that when we have these types of crowds and the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants, that certainly there will be police involvement.”
Considering that this year, the Jamboree is spread over two sites — the festival site at its usual location and the new campsite up the Lumsden hill — the RCMP has beefed up its contingent for the event, The Leader Post, Regina, reported.
“We’ve upped our membership from 30 to 36 in order to address the issues of the two sites and the policing thereof,” Cleary said. “We also have members dedicated to handling the traffic at the entrances to the two venues.
“Definitely, there’s a little bit of the element of the unknown, because this (having two sites) is something new this year that we haven’t co-ordinated in the past. But working in conjunction with site security, I’m very confident we’ll have a good handle on things.”
Indications are that perhaps police won’t have as many festival goers to worry about this year, Cleary said, noting, “It’s also our belief that definitely the attendance won’t be, from what we can tell, as high as in years passed.”
Still, the volume of traffic on Highway 11 is expected to be heavy this week. The road can handle more traffic than Highway 20 to Craven, but that is a mixed blessing, as there is greater potential for more serious collisions, Cleary said. But there shouldn’t be a repeat of last year’s major jam.
“It’s definitely my hope that we don’t have something like that again this year,” he said. “With the traffic signs and the specific lane designations, we’re hoping that will certainly assist in reducing traffic backup.”
As for contending with misbehaving campers, the RCMP will have a command post at each site. Resources will be dedicated to each venue based on when flows of people are expected to peak. There are things attendees should consider to avoid problems with police, Cleary added.
“We don’t want anybody parking on the highway — and that would be on Highway 11, Highway 20, as well as Russell Hill Road across from the Craven site,” he said. “Any vehicles found there will be towed immediately.”
Festival goers should also be aware of extra traffic and expect to be patient. Whether coming from the city or the campgrounds, police suggest attendees take advantage of bus services being offered. RCMP traffic services will be out in full force around the area and will be on the lookout for drinking and driving.
“Just be responsible, enjoy yourselves, have a good time, but if things get carried away, we may have to step in and deal with each situation on a case-by-case basis,” Cleary advised. “We would like for everybody to behave.”
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