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Grandpa concerned about security at Bell Park after teens? party

BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW [email protected] Richard Stargratt and his wife took their young grandson to Bell Park on Canada Day to watch the fireworks across the lake at Science North.
BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW

Richard Stargratt and his wife took their young grandson to Bell Park on Canada Day to watch the fireworks across the lake at Science North.

Their good times were dampened by about 50 to 70 young people who were drinking, smoking drugs and fighting near the Â?secondÂ? beach area near the amphitheatre.

Stargratt and his family arrived at about 7 pm, and found a nice spot by the lake to enjoy the festivities.

Soon afterwards, they observed a large gang of teenagers.

Â?I know they were drinking because we watched them pour beer into cups and toss the bottles into the lake,Â? said Stargratt. Â?The lake and shoreline were littered with bottles.Â?

StargrattÂ?s grandson was a victim to the groupÂ?s antics.

Â?My grandson was playing in front of his stroller when a young girl ran straight into him and knocked him over to the ground,Â? said Stargratt. Â?There was no apology. The girl just ran down to the edge of the lake where she started crying and throwing up all over the place.Â?

Stargratt himself was sickened and went to complain to the authorities.

Â?I went and spoke to a parks and recreation attendant, who told me he had already had over 30 complaints about the group,Â? said Stargratt. Â?He said
police were on the way, so I left and went back to my wife and grandson.Â?

About an hour later the police had not shown up, and Stagratt, went back to the park official.

Â?I asked what was going on. He was standing with four security guards. He then said they would go down to the area. They went down and the attendant told the security guards not to go in because there were too many of them (teens) and leave it for the police.Â?

Stargratt stayed at the event until about 10:45 pm. He did not see any police during that time.

Greater Sudbury Police say they were on duty at Bell Park, where many people go to watch the fireworks.

Â?There were about 12 officers who went in to calm the situation down,Â? said Sgt. Gary Lavoie with the traffic management unit, who was on duty July 1.

Police insist arrests were made, but Richard and Elaine Lamarche say their Canada Day was ruined by punks.
Â?As soon as we went down, there were countless numbers of youth scattering like fleas on a table. There were numerous arrests made in regards to
intoxication and fighting. There was even an impaired arrest made. As far as us not going in or being there - itÂ?s not true.Â?

The city usually has extra staff on duty for big events like Canada Day.

Â?We work with event organizers and when the event is held on municipal property, we have a security plan in place,Â? said Caroline Hallsworth,
general manager of citizen and leisure services.

Â?For events like Canada Day at Science North, we do bring in extra staff and extra security into Bell Park where we anticipate large crowds. We do have protocols in place to manage crowds during large events.Â?

Stargratt is sticking to his story.

Â?I am 100 per cent positive I never saw any cops. I was there all night. I would have seen the police,Â? he said.

Â?I was very upset with the whole situation and it wasnÂ?t just me because there were other families there too,Â? said Stargratt.

Â?If this is going to continue, a police presence should be there in the park to control the drinking. ItÂ?s getting to the point where itÂ?s not a family day - itÂ?s a drinking day for the kids.

Â?I am seriously considering not bringing my grandson to next yearÂ?s event. I was not impressed at all.Â?



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