Are there fears of a terrorist attack during the Vaisakhi Parade or the Sun Run in Vancouver this weekend, or at next Wednesday’s 420 event?
That provocative question is being asked by the Georgia Straight, after the newspaper was ordered to remove all of its newspaper boxes by noon today from the Vaisakhi parade route in south Vancouver, the Sun Run route in downtown Vancouver, and the West End for the pot event.
The paper says it’s the first time that has ever happened and says it’s been told this is part of a “public safety plan” developed by the City and the Vancouver Police Department.
In response to questions about this “public safety plan”, VPD spokesperson Brian Montague tells CKNW it is common to remove items like newspaper boxes, postal boxes, and other objects where there are large numbers of people expected to gather.
He says the items pose a hazard or a safety risk and can impede or block the easy flow of the crowd through the area.
When asked why such a sweeping order to the newspaper for the 3 events, Montague says:
“It is unfortunate they see the request as being unreasonable, but our priority is public safety and to ensure those attending large events in the city feel safe.”
VPD chief says removal “a security precaution”
Those newspaper boxes that had to come off Vancouver’s streets by today was merely a security precaution, and not because of any new threat.
That’s according to Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer, who said security planners have seen what what their foreign counterparts have been doing.
“By all means I don’t think we have all the best answers in Vancouver, we like to see what everybody else is doing too. It is a standard thing that we notice other cities are doing that for major events so our planners working with the city planners have made a decision and that’s a step we’re going to take.”
Palmer’s comments came amid concerns over the timing of the boxes’ removal days before the Vaisakhi parade, the Sun Run route and the 420 event at Sunset Beach.
Picture courtesy of Georgia Straight