Woman charged and banned from Vancouver nude beach for selling alcoholic freezies
By Julia Siedlanowska, Staff Writer
A Vancouver woman has just added to her legal troubles after being charged with selling alcohol at a nudist beach.
Alana Thomson, 31, who is facing drug-related charges as well, has been arrested and charged after being caught selling alcoholic freezies on the nude beach near the University of British Columbia. The charges come after Thomson had been warned several times by Metro Vancouver park rangers, who oversee the operations at Wreck Beach.
In total, Thomson faces a total of 14 charges which, according to reports in the Province, include “one count of manufacturing freezies and two counts of possession of drugs, marijuana and ecstasy, for the purposes of trafficking.”
According to a warrant obtained by the Province, a file on the case was opened after Thomson’s landlord, Donald Shumka reported to RCMP that he suspected his tenant of making alcoholic freezies for the purpose of selling them at Wreck Beach. The warrant also said that RCMP Const. Roger Mah, while not in uniform, observed Thomson on Wreck Beach and saw her walking and calling out flavours of alcoholic freezies and stopping to sell them. Upon her arrest, police seized Thomson’s cooler, which was reportedly filled with 50 freezies in different colours. Police were also reported to have seized over $350 in cash.
Thomson was charged under British Columbia’s Liquor Act, which according to the Province, “prohibits the selling and advertising of alcohol without a licence and, under Section 55 of the act, manufacturing alcohol.” Thomson’s lawyer, Patrick McGowan, stated in an interview with the Province that his client knows of some of the Crown’s evidence, and is waiting for more information before she decides whether or not to challenge the charges. “It’s an unusual charge,” he said. “It’s often a ticketable offence. This is a more aggressive approach.”
The Province reports that Metro Vancouver park rangers had been noticing Thomson’s activities since 2011, issuing written warnings, notices of violations, and municipal ticket information, according to the warrant.
“She was fined $100 on three different dates in 2011 and 2012, and banned each time for 72 hours, and then fined $500 on two different dates last year and banned for seven days,” said a recent article in the Province.
UBC RCMP spokesman Sgt. Drew Grainger stated that drug and alcohol consumption has been a major problem for the detachment dealing with Wreck Beach for the last several years. He also said that patrolling officers “have issued hundreds of $230 violation tickets for open alcohol,” at a rate of between six and 20 tickets a day.
Thomson is known and recognized in the area, and has received criticism from the Wreck Beach Preservation Society. According to the Province, Judy Williams of the Wreck Beach Preservation Society said that “she’s obnoxious, she’s loud, and she didn’t follow the dictates of the culture down there. There’s an etiquette on the beach and you don’t get in people’s faces. They don’t like that.”
Thomson reportedly sought mentorship in starting her own business venture with the freezies. Her ideas were displayed on the website Vancouver Entrepreneur Mentors. “I’m looking to develop freezies that are cocktails fit for adults,” it read. “Think our childhood Mr. Freeze but the contents actually being a lime margarita, strawberry daiquiri, or some other delicious cocktail us big kids can enjoy!… My goal is to get this product on the liquor shelves all throughout Canada by the summer of 2014.” The profile has since been removed from the web along with Thomson’s Facebook page.