The District of Port Edward received a belated update from RCMP Sgt. Dave Uppal at the Jan. 26 council meeting.
Uppal delivered a file count from the past six months, as opposed to the regular quarterly updates, which he said he will try to maintain this year.
He read off the file counts starting with July that had 30 files generated from Port Edward. The forest fire was noted as the major event that month, as well as erratic driving and one impaired driver who was stopped at a traffic stop and received a 90 day prohibition, a $500 fine, two violation tickets and the vehicle was impounded for 30 days. There were also files with regards to landlord tenant disputes, “which is not uncommon for communities of this size”, Uppal said. He included that there are 30 files but most involve the same people.
August had 19 files, involving trespassing at the pulp mill and property-related cases.
There were 24 files in September, mainly because of the occupation of Lelu Island, and these files got lumped in with Port Edward. “We have been getting a number of files out there over the last few months just with incidents that happened on the water,”
Uppal said pointing out he will try to separate those files in the future as the other files regarding Port Edward were not too serious. However, he noted that there are many concerns about Lelu Island and although he can’t discuss the number of ongoing investigations he said that the RCMP stance has been clear from the start.
“You have the right to protest. That’s everybody’s fundamental right, we have no issues with that, but just do it safely,” Uppal said.
There were only eight files in October including an impaired operation of a vehicle. Fraud or Internet scams were called in. A small amount of drugs were seized as part of a traffic stop as well.
November had 13 files due to erratic drivers and some incidents at the pulp mill.
Mayor Dave MacDonald mentioned that the mill is on Rupert land. Uppal made a note, then reported that December only had 10 files, none of which were serious events.
The mayor asked Uppal if he finds that the RCMP are getting more files because people are calling in more from Port Edward, and Uppal said yes.
“We encourage people to call us,” Uppal said. “We do have the resources to come out here to respond to the calls.”
Uppal agreed to return for the next quarterly update. Before he left the meeting the district passed a motion to donate a jacket for a door prize at the Feb. 19 Guns and Hoses charity hockey game to raise money for the special olympics.
Support for the fisherman’s union
The district responded to a letter from Joy Thorkelson, Northern Representative for the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union regarding the closure of Canfisco’s canning operation at the Oceanside plant.
Thorkelson asked for the district’s support on the union’s position on “adjacency, fleet separation and owner-operator policies” in the hopes that these three policy changes will bring benefits from the fisheries back to the coast.
The district passed a motion to put forth a resolution to support the three policies.
Rail safety concerns
Mayor Dave MacDonald met with Canadian National (CN) Rail and discussed that the company needs to upgrade the crossings to stop the whistling throughout the area. Due to the lack of crossings the trains whistle throughout the Port Edward area, causing noise disruptions.
“Hopefully by the fall they’ll be working on it,” the mayor said. CN didn’t give the mayor a specific date but it’s aiming to set up the four crossings in the fall.
The district also invited CN to come to Port Edward to speak about propane coming through on the rails. “There’s going to be a lot more propane coming through when they build on Ridley Island,” MacDonald said adding that he thinks that is why CN is coming through with the crossings, “Before it was sound [as the issue] now it’s safety and noise”. On Jan. 20, AtlasGas Ltd. announced an agreement to have its own propane terminal on Ridley Island. The CN rail network will transport the propane to the island.
Council is going to have a briefing from AltaGas in February to learn more about the specifics of what having propane railed through the district means.