When over a dozen people come together within this community to discuss their fears and concerns about where they live, it is time for local officials such as the municipality and local police, to sit up and take notice.
RCMP, the District of Barriere, and the Barriere Fire Department heard from frustrated and angry citizens last Thursday at a Community Consultative Group meeting at the Ridge.
The topic of discussion was growing concern within the community regarding a few residents who ignore property bylaws, noise bylaws, fire restrictions and the law.
Although this problem may be common in other cities and municipalities across the country, it is not one that our local residents are willing to accept, or see grow in Barriere.
Complaints were voiced about properties that frequently have unnecessary and load noises at all hours, burning when fire use is restricted, property bylaw infractions, criminal activities and more.
A major concern for some is the damage being done to riparian areas, river banks and dikes; flooding is often a factor during the annual spring runoff here and can cause serious damage to properties and homes.
Residents said they are tired of notifying police and municipal staff about their concerns when no one is taking any action to address the problem in a positive manor that will produce results.
Fire Chief Al Kirkwood advised the residents to call him at any time if they have a concern regarding fire within their neighbourhood and he will respond.
Mayor Virginia Smith stated municipal staff have been addressing bylaw infractions, but when working with a property owner to rectify a bylaw problem it can often take some time to come to a satisfactory outcome.
The RCMP member in attendance stated those with concerns about criminal activities should notify police of these instances and the mounties will act on them.
But that said, it is not hard to understand why some folks may be hesitant to get involved by pointing fingers at those they believe to be participating in illegal activities due to fear of retaliation.
Law abiding citizens should not be feeling vulnerable where they live.
Especially not in our community.
How do we as citizens address this problem? Contact the police, the fire department or the municipality, if you see activities that are illegal, serious bylaw infractions, or have safety concerns. Be positive and pro-active about your community; if you aren’t, who will be?
Editor’s note: The local police officer who attended the above meeting was paged out on a call after only a few minutes in the meeting. However, we understand an RCMP representative did meet the following day with Mayor Smith and the Fire Chief.
The Community Consultative Group is an informal appointed body, drawn from all facets of the community that provides a sounding board between the RCMP detachment and area residents. Anyone is welcome to join.