Here we go again. Another fight in Vernon accompanied by another kneejerk reaction.
I promise to be less douchey from this point onwards.
For those of you who have been missing out on the latest news, a fight broke out during a concert at Status Nightclub a week ago. The video went viral.
A few days ago, another fight broke out, but this time it was between a group of mostly teenagers at the Kal Beach pier.
The pier is closed due to mass flooding. Since the fight, the mayor has teased the idea of dismantling the pier if the cons of keeping it outweigh the benefits.
The biggest con is the potential government funding needed if there is structural damage because of the flooding.
This is a legitimate point. However, other points were brought up that are viewed by the mayor and other members of the community that I find to be a bit silly.
Therefore, like a Batman symbol shining into the sky, it is once again my duty to debunk some of the claims made.
NUMBER ONE: THE PIER IS SUCH AN UNSAFE PLACE!!!
I have lived in Vernon for 18 years. In the past three years, Kal Beach has become my regular beach bum location as opposed to Kin Beach. The viral video released this week is the first time I have ever witnessed a fist fight break out on the pier.
In an era where nearly everyone at the beach brings their smartphones, I imagine other videos of violence on the beach would be available. A quick YouTube and Google search indicates otherwise.
NUMBER TWO: WE HAVE TO PUT FUNDING INTO MORE POLICE PATROLS!
Actually, during the summer weekends when Kal Beach is at its peak for traffic, I have seen the RCMP put on their flip flops and make multiple trips during the same afternoon to the end of the pier to keep an eye on things. Occasionally they will escort teens off the pier. Usually they are caught with booze or something else, and no real ruckus is made.
I can imagine there might be the occasional “please don’t call my parents!” or “c’mon maaaan,” but nothing to suggest that it will be Harlem in the 1980s.
NUMBER THREE: YES, PEOPLE CONSUME ALCOHOL IN THE PUBLIC DURING THE SUMMER WHEN THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO SO. SHOCKER.
Yes, everyone knows we are not supposed to consume alcohol in public. Much like downloading music or masturbation, everyone will say they have never consumed alcohol on public property but everyone has done it.
But guess what? Every beach in the history of ever in Vernon will have people consume alcohol casually on a daily basis in the summer.
In fact, I will regularly walk by tourists who will have a can of beer and shrug it off saying “eh, it’s a free country” each year.
Last week, a couple friends of mine visited town and were drinking from a six pack with their friends in downtown Vernon.
I will take this one step further–friends of mine at Fulton, the very school where Jim Garlick used to be a teacher, would pour vodka in their slurpee cups that they got from Shell at lunch hour and sit at the back of the class. This would typically happen during the last quarter of each year when everyone is a bit more daring and scoffs at the rules set forth by the school. They just want to be done with the exams already.
So why is Garlick thinking that dismantling the pier will put an end to illegal alcohol consumption? All you’re going to do is have them drink on the sand, or find a more private beach where cops may be doing fewer patrols.
NOTE: I am not endorsing underaged or illegal alcohol consumption. I am just merely pointing out that dismantling a pier will not put an end to decades and decades of municipal law-breaking in this town. Everyone is not going to turn into a bunch of freakin’ Care Bears and hold hands together in our newly established dry Kal Beach utopia.
NUMBER FOUR: OTHER TOWNS HAVE PIERS AND FUNCTION JUST FINE
If we eliminate the pier at Kal Beach, what message does that send to our town? That we’re a bunch of heathens that can’t even handle a relatively basic man-made structure on the water? Those middle-aged dudes in the Prairies who have souped up hot rods thanks to their oil rig money and speeding down the highway at 150 kilometres per hour and hold huge ragers in the woods will be laughing at us.
NUMBER FIVE: OMG! FIRES HAVE BEEN LIT THERE!
Uhhhhh, was anybody ever a teenager? We all had multiple friends who loved lighting things just for the hell of it. I didn’t live close enough to Kal Beach, but elsewhere I certainly saw it happen.
Again, Smokey the Bear isn’t going to retire just because you dismantle the pier. Just ask Kin Race Track or the grandstands at Polson Park about that.
NUMBER SIX: ER DOCTORS WANT IT SHUT DOWN BECAUSE THEY HAVE HAD TO TREAT PEOPLE THAT WERE INJURED THERE
OK. . .What numbers are being brought into this? What types of injuries? When do they happen? How does it correlate to injuries elsewhere in town? Will closing down the pier displace or eliminate these injuries? Absolutely no data is provided. It is like when Vernon decided to ban Mixed Martial Arts all over again.
NUMBER SEVEN: WHY PUNISH EVERYBODY FOR ONE INCIDENT BY TEENAGERS? ISN’T THAT A BIT (TOM) PETTY?
Oh, a couple of people improperly use a structure and now tens of thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of annoying tourists have to pay the price for it? Isn’t that a very elementary school way of dealing with things?
“Well, Jimmy and Bobbi got into a fight. I guess we won’t be having class outside today!”
“Way to go, guys.”
“Maybe you kids think about what you have done, and apologize to the rest of the class for what you have done.”
There was an amusing incident similar to this when I was in the seventh grade where I walked out of class because we were all being punished for something four or five peers did in my class.
It’s hilarious that this situation is relevant nearly fourteen years later, but the point still stands.
Is 7/11 going to shut down its doors to the public because a couple of hooligans shoplifted?
Is the swimming pool at the Rec Centre going to close down when a few elderly folks opt to pee in it rather than using that exhausting ladder and going to the rest room?
Is a deer going to be punished because a few folks decide to put sunglasses on it and take pictures with it–oh wait, that already happened.
In all seriousness, that is a flawed way of thinking.
In summary, sure, close the pier down if there is enough structural damage to not justify spending a quadrillion fofillion dollars on it as if it were a new ice hockey rink or a new sports track.
But don’t close it down because you are angry over an isolated incident involving teenagers, and a few other relatively minor incidents over the past two decades that could happen anywhere in town.
And hey, if I am wrong, worst case scenario is you send Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg to commentate the next fight.