Public safety everyone's business
Last week's editorial, "Police brutality-in reverse," made an adverse inference about a column I wrote related to the rise in crime in Squamish. The statistics showed that between 1995 and 2004 the crime rate here increased, and it was higher than in most similarly sized municipalities.
I'm not sure how my discussion of crime statistics, generated by the B.C. Police Services themselves, could give anyone "an unfavourable impression of local law enforcement officers," as the editorial asserts.
It does not follow that an increase in crime implies a dereliction of duty by the local detachment. In fact the opposite is true. This detachment reaches from south of Whistler to Lions Bay and our members respond to considerably more calls than many other communities.
Having worked closely with the RCMP over the past three years as a member of Citizens on Patrol, I am fully aware of the integrity and attention to duty the officers in this detachment display.
But, given the size of the territory, and the demographic and economic changes this town will undergo in the next five years, we'd better realize that public safety is everyone's business. Unless all of us become more vigilant and involved, crime could become as much of a problem here as it is in some areas of Surrey, or other municipalities in the Lower Mainland.
Give police credit
This letter is in response to the letter written by Ron Enns regarding his frustration with the RCMP services in Squamish. The property crime problem in Squamish is certainly increasing with the number of people coming into the area. It's a shame, but success and development seems to attract opportunistic scumbags who prefer to steal from others than to make an honest living. Having been the victim of property crimes on several occasions over several years, I can certainly sympathize with Mr. Enns.
However, I must give credit to both the District and the RCMP for thenoticeable improvements inprotective services over thepast year.Successful efforts are being madeby both the district and the RCMP to alleviate the problemscaused by drugs and those who choose tosell and use them (including theft!).There have been frequent drughouse/theft ringbusts in the downtown area lately as efforts are made to clean up the downtown core. Many of the derelicts who moved to Squamishto live by stealing from honest people seem to have moved on.
We still have to keep doors locked at all times. We still need to make sure that any bike we bring downtown isn't one thatwe'd cry over losing.It sucks, and no one should have to live that way,especially in the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada".Unfortunately, there will always be thieves as long as there is a market for stolen goods and as long as the worst punishmenta thiefcan get is(taxpayer funded)free room and board for a few months (or years if society lucks into a judge who wants the world to be better).People who want to avoid having their valuables stolen will have toendure hiding themand locking everything up all the time. A bait bike program (GPS locaters are imbedded within the bike's frame)instituted by Victoria/Esquimalt police is recently reported to be highly successful.Squamish would do well to adopt such a program.
Yes, the RCMP bust people for their crazy death defying driving antics on the "Sea to Cemetary" highway.Good for them. I don't want to hear about yet another death or injury of any of my friends or family due to avoidable driver errors (like excessive speed).RCMP membersare veryoften young people who have chosen to commit their careers to making communities safer and the world better.This in itself is an admirable venture.It seems rare thatour RCMP get publicthanks for their positive efforts towardmakingSquamish asafer, more livable place. I think the good people of Squamish owe each of the RCMP members a "Thank You". To the Squamish RCMP:Keep up the good work! Thank you!
What's the stink about Carney's?
Why all this uproar about the smell emanating from the innovative, sustainable, tax-paying, green business, which is Carney's Composting in our Industrial Park? I think diverting 20-25 tonnes of material from our landfills daily and the $1.5 million investment Carney's has made in green technology is laudable. The problem is not Carney's, but having an industrial park in the heart of our community. That is a political mistake made 15 years ago, which Owen Carney is now paying for. Face it folks, your trash stinks. Woodfibre stunk up Howe Sound communities from Horseshoe Bay to Whistler for 100 years and no one tried to suspend or take away its business licence. The irony of this is what really stinks. Kudos to Carney's for creating local jobs in our industrial park and bringing forward-thinking, green business to our community.
Too bad about all those big box stores and useless factory outlet malls in our industrial area, because I think they stink. Talk about Smart Growth on the Ground, all I see happening here is Dumb Growth on the Highway.
District must lead on biking
Dear Mayor and Council,
Thank you for your supporting many Squamish Off Road Cycling Association driven initiatives over the past years. I continue to believe that Squamish has the potential to become a worldwide mountain bike (MTB) destination and I applaud the District's commitment to marketing itself as such.
At this time the Ministry of Tourism Sports and the Arts has identified MTB trails as being a major source of increased tourism in the province. Hence the recent study that Councils from Whistler to Vancouver were asked to give $10,000 to help fund. The study is to gain 'official' revenue numbers so making decisions (like giving $10,000 for a study) will be much easier.
The North Shore funding indirectly came from the District of North and West Vancouver and City of North Vancouver. The Whistler portion came from their Municipality, Tourism Whistler and Whistler/Blackcomb. Unfortunately Squamish continues to lack a Tourism Squamish or major ski/golf hill to partner with, so the District gave Squamish's share. That's great, but it's the string attached that sums up what is so horribly wrong with our situation. Does the District rightly ask for help from the Chamber of Commerce? No, after years of abusing volunteer labour they decide to demand SORCA (a non profit association) fork over money.
This in a nutshell is the problem. This study is not for Squamish's bike club (nor its bike shops or bike races for that matter), it's for Squamish. It must be finally understood just what SORCA is and that's a non-profit association that through countless events, encourages people to get out and have fun on their bikes. As well we've taken a pro-active role in building and maintaining an enviable network of trails. What SORCA does not do is create a world-class mountain biking tourism destination.
The District is right to want to capitalize on the fact that we are as smack in the middle of the two largest mountain bike draws on Earth. But to take full advantage of this, the District must immediately put their money where their mouths have been for years and take a leadership role in creating the paradise they continue to advertise. Yes, SORCA will be glad to help to facilitate, but it is unacceptable that a group of volunteers sacrificing family time to help their community shouldbe asked to create or maintain a world class mountain bike destination.
Again, Thank you for taking the baby steps, now it's time to walk.