For many residents, the warm weather is a beautiful invitation to spend more time outside. The warm weather also brings about summer bush parties, where many teenagers and young adults are exposed to alcohol, underage drinking, and drugs. Known around Stittsville as a ‘Tequila Sunrise,’ these bush parties take place in parks, trails, forests, private lands and green spaces throughout the city and our rural areas.
The information below is provided by Ottawa Police through my office on an annual basis:
Alcohol and drug use
Overconsumption of alcohol or drugs can lead to serious consequences, such as overdoses, violence or sexual assault. Bush parties take place in remote areas, so finding someone in need of emergency help can be a problem.
The difference between an emergency and a tragedy can be a matter of minutes. Our emergency services have to get to the victim, but when a party is taking place in a secluded area, it can be very difficult to find. How do you identify one location from another? A lag in reaction time can be very serious.
Noise and litter problems
For nearby neighbours, bush parties bring other problems, including noise and garbage. Young people may set up old sofas and chairs, build fires and leave litter scattered on the site. There is also the risk of fires from discarded cigarettes or injury from broken glass. If you notice any of these problems in your area, call the City at 3-1-1 to report the issues to By-Law.
What to do about bush parties
If you have teenagers or young adults at home, talk to them about the risks and how to make responsible choices. Encourage them to let you know where they are going, who they will be with and how you can reach them. Check up on them. You may also consider locking up your alcohol at home. Work with your kids to help them find safe ways to have fun.
If bush parties are a problem in your neighbourhood, here’s what you can do:
- Report a party in progress to the police: Call 9-1-1
- Report noise or litter problems to By-Law: Dial 3-1-1
- Talk to your School Resource Officer: If you or your school-aged teen knows about a planned bush party, contact your School Resource Officer or the Ottawa Police Youth Section at 236-1222, ext. 5355 to speak with a youth officer.
- Talk to your Community Police Centre officers: For help in what to do to deal with bush party problems in your neighbourhood, call 613-236-1222 to speak with your Community Police Officer or see the full list online at ottawapolice.ca/en/contact-us/community-police-centres.asp.
For more information about partying, alcohol or community safety, visit Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Neighbourhood Toolkit at www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/toolkit.