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'Harassed': Lifeguards are ending their patrols early at this Vancouver beach due to 'safety concerns'

Over 4,000 people were reportedly at the beach on a night that lifeguards pulled an unconscious person from the water.
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The Vancouver Park Board says lifeguards were instructed to end their patrol on Stanley Park's Third Beach early on July 26 night due to safety concerns.  Photo: @schaaptop / Twitter

The Vancouver Park Board says lifeguards were instructed to end their patrol on Stanley Park's Third Beach early on Tuesday (July 26) night due to safety concerns. 

In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, the park board stated that there were three separate incidents at the "unsanctioned drum circle" in July. As a result, the lifeguards will continue to end their patrols at 7 p.m. on Tuesday nights at Third Beach.

The park board also advised beachgoers about the risks associated with unsupervised swimming. 

Locals hoping to enjoy an evening swim were instructed to relocate to Second Beach, which would be staffed with lifeguards until 8:30 p.m. as usual. 

On July 12, an individual was pulled unconscious from the water and lifeguards performed first aid until paramedics arrived on the scene. At the time of the incident, the number of people at Third Beach reportedly exceeded 4,000, the park board told Vancouver Is Awesome in a statement. 

"Other lifeguards on site reported they were obstructed and harassed by individuals in the crowd, both physically and verbally, as they attempted to reach the unconscious individual," said the park board. 

"The Drum Circle is an unsanctioned and unpermitted event, with large numbers of people gathering. In recent weeks, the number of individuals attending, and the activities taking place at Third Beach, has become unmanageable for both lifeguards and park rangers to maintain safely."

Vancouverite Brahm Olszynko created a Facebook Group called "Brahm's Tams Official Tuesday Drum Circle" for the group that ordinarily gathers every sunny Tuesday for the drum circle. 

Olszynko began the drum circle in 2005, when he first moved to Vancouver from Ottawa, to honour the Tam Tams in Montreal. And, of course, "for the love of rhythm, unity and community."

While it was temporarily postponed due to the pandemic, the weekly event has seen thousands of people gather again since the restrictions have been lifted. 

The park board will meet with the Vancouver Police Department (VDP) and City Protective Services to establish "a coordinated approach and long-term strategy to manage the congregation of large crowds and associated bylaw infractions."

V.I.A. has reached out to the VPD for comment. 

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