The head of the community association that covers Mooney's Bay Park is applauding the city's decision to close it early for the next two weekends, saying the situation at the park is "out of control."
River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington announced in a tweet Friday that for the next two weekends the park would close two hours earlier than normal, at 9 p.m., to "address a number of issues in the park late at night." Bylaw and police officers are stepping up patrols in the area.
"We think it's unfortunate, but [it's] an absolutely necessary measure to try to get some semblance of sanity back to the park," said Joel Duff, president of the Riverside Park Community Association.
"I was down there last weekend and it was ridiculous. It was off the hook — people in groups larger than 10 packed together with open alcohol, dogs off leash, running back and forth from tents, blaring loud music."
Duff said at the end of the night many park-goers have been descending on neighbourhoods around the beach and, in some cases, causing damage, including to a local church.
Councillor fights for more enforcement
Brockington said he has received many complaints in recent weeks and has been lobbying to get more bylaw officers into the park for months in anticipation of a busy summer.
He said bylaw has refused to go into the park after 9 p.m. for the past two weeks after an incident where three officers were swarmed by revelers. One of those officers quit on the spot, Brockington said.
"There have been professional DJs advertising on social media that they'll be setting up and playing basically at the pavilion … I've been there even at eight o'clock, nine o'clock [and have seen] five hundred people all within a concentrated area…we've had fireworks probably 12 nights in a row, following Victoria Day," he said
"I want this park to be used, I'm glad it's well used. But we also need some basic respect met by our visitors."
Brockington said the new approach saw some success on Friday night. He said nearby residents told him that although loud music could be heard blaring, the noise stopped at 9 p.m.
He said the pilot will focus more on education rather than handing out tickets.