Pollett River Run draws hundreds

CBC
People travel in all sorts of boats as they make their way down the river.
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People travel in all sorts of boats as they make their way down the river.

Hundreds of boaters took to the Pollett River to celebrate the arrival of spring Saturday. But they were closely watched by police who issued several warnings about drinking and driving.

The annual Pollett River Run took place in Elgin, about an hour away from Moncton. People from all over use everything from canoes to homemade rafts to take their turn down the river.

The event has a reputation as a free-for-all. The Facebook page encouraged people to bring their "brews and canoes.”

That had the police cracking down on Saturday.

"People are still expected to obey the rules of the road to ensure that they’re compliant with it," said RCMP Cpl. Philippe Cyr.

"What happens is that people leave there... they're often under the influence and it could lead to some serious circumstances or consequences after the fact."

In the 30 year history of the event, there have only been a handful of problems. Despite that, Elgin Fire Chief Garry Steeves reminded participants to keep safety in mind.

"Don't take the river for advantage because it's a dangerous river and high rapids,” he said. “You get in the high rapids and there's a lot of force behind those rapids, so respect the river."

Connie Vautz was one of the last people to launch on the river Saturday.

"We have our drinks Friday night when we're at the cottage," she said. "We don't really come out to drink, we just come out to kind of get into the fresh air and have a good time."

Police stopped every vehicle that was heading from the river to the after-party to make sure they had sober drivers.

"People know that if they're drinking and driving today, there's a good chance they're gonna get caught," said Rhonda Oblenis, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "The police are on the ATVs, the police are on the roads, so people are making better choices."

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