Police are investigating after at least seven children reported experiencing symptoms of bear spray exposure at Lazulte Park in Copper Ridge Sunday night. (Jesse Winter/ Yukon News)

Whitehorse park wiped down after kids show signs of bear spray exposure

Lazulite Park in Copper Ridge is now safe to use, city says

Whitehorse RCMP say at least seven kids playing in a park in Copper Ridge Sept. 24 may have been exposed to bear spray.

It’s not clear when the chemical was released at Lazulite Park, said RCMP spokesperson Coralee Reid. Police are investigating.

Officers were called to the park around 7 p.m. after a complaint of a suspicious person. “Officers attended and spoke to a woman at the park. It was determined that no illegal activity was taking place,” Reid said in an email.

Later in the evening police got a report that “three children were experiencing symptoms of exposure to bear spray or a similar product. The children had been playing at the park on Lazulite Drive earlier,” Reid said.

That number has since climbed to seven.

Officers returned to the park and could tell that bear spray or something like it had been released, she said, but no canisters were located.

Exposure to bear spray can cause stinging, burning, and redness of the eyes as well as a burning sensation in the nose and throat, according to the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health.

It’s too soon to say whether the bear spray is related to the earlier call to the park. There have been bear sightings in the area over the course of the last week, she said.

The park is now safe for use. Whitehorse firefighters sprayed down the park equipment that evening and staff from the City of Whitehorse parks department wiped down the equipment themselves this morning, said city spokesperson Jessica Apolloni.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com