Mental health calls to RCMP increasing
By Nowell Berg
On May 9, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, and Darryl Oakley were present along with Mayor Don McCormick. Coun. Sandra Roberts was absent.
Due to pandemic restrictions, the public and media are not allowed to attend Council Chambers. Meetings live stream on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel. Watch the archive here.
Sgt. Steve Woodcox, Kimberley RCMP Detachment commander, presented an update on activities for the January to March quarter.
Citing the detachments current “shortage of manpower,” Woodcox said that having three officers off-duty has “cut down on some of pro-active work we’ve wanted to do.”
Due to the lack of officers, so far this year only eight impaired drivers were removed from the road compared to 16 last year at the same time.
Mental health calls continue to increase nearly doubling from last quarter to 23 (Oct. to Dec. 2021-12 calls). Woodcox said, “People have a lot of stresses in their life. There’s a lot going on, cost of living’s going up, people have added pressure, that’s definitely reflected in the type of calls we get.”
Six assaults were reported. The RCMP have recommended charges be laid in four cases.
An officer was on scene at a fire in Skookumchuck that destroyed a home. It “was not criminal in nature.”
RCMP attended four sudden deaths and found one to be “suspicious and is under investigation.”
Woodcox told council the RCMP had received two new reports about the making and distribution of child pornography. These incidents now bring the total to five investigations regarding local residents’ involvement in child pornography.
The investigation into the ski hill arson continues. Woodcox said that after the reward was posted there were a number of leads submitted, however, since then, there have been fewer tips.
He reiterated, “We really need your help in order to solve this for the community.”
Invasive Plant Control
Council approved the contract award for the Parks Department’s invasive plant control program for the next three years (2022 to 2024).
The contract goes to Spectrum Resource Group who has undertaken this type of work for the city over the past two years.
The program cost for the upcoming season is $28,000. The budget for next year increases to $29,000, and in 2024 it will rise to $30,000.
Nicole Halasz, Manager of Parks and Facilities, told council that last year “138 sites” were treated with either an herbal spray or a mechanical process to remove invasive weeds.
Noting that control is an “ongoing battle,” Halasz said this year there would be a “focus on education” for residents and businesses on how they can help in controlling invasive weeds on their property.
Commenting on the staff report, Coun. Kitto said, “It’s thin on the ground.” He wanted to see more details about where, when, and what type of remediation and control measures would be used.
Pointing out the “significant cost” to treat invasive plants, Coun. Oakley questioned the use of chemicals being sprayed on public land. “I’m not very keen on this. I’d rather see a creative way forward.”
Coun. McBain commented, “We have to accept and deal with this. If we let our guard down it ends up being worse in the long run and it costs more money.”
Coun. Oakley was the only one to vote against the invasive plant control program.
Townsite Multi-Use Pathway
Council approved the selection of a company to undertake the construction of the Townsite multi-use pathway. Mackay Contracting received the contract worth $323,273.
As part of the active transportation network, the Townsite path will provide residents with easy access to various parts of town, the Platzl and connection to other pathways.
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. The next scheduled regular council meeting: May 24.
e-KNOW file photo