Crime stats reflect 'safe' community: RCMP

Council provides impressions of power project meeting

Crime statistics from the Pemberton RCMP detachment show that calls for service and most incident types reported were below the five-year average in 2012, with police telling Pemberton council Tuesday (March 19) that the community is generally a safe place.

Sgt. Eric Rochette and Insp. Neil Cross presented the annual report to council at Tuesday's meeting, showing that the 1,502 total calls for service last year were slightly higher than in 2011, but about 200 fewer than the average going back to 2008.

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"Overall, the crime numbers look very good," said Cross. "It's a safe community."

Cross acknowledged that mischief and vandalism remain some of the constant problems around town and encouraged members of the public to report such crimes as soon as possible to help police deal with the problem.

Rochette said the local RCMP have increased their presence within schools over the past year, as youth outreach has been a focus for police. Continued presence within the community - including officers more frequently on foot and bike patrol - will remain one of the detachment's goals in 2013.

The officers asked council for its input on preferred policing priorities for the next year and furthering a rapport with local youth was the most common wish expressed by lawmakers.

Rochette also announced that he will be reassigned to the Oceansville detachment in June after several years serving the Pemberton Valley. Council members thanked Rochette for his time leading the detachment, while Cross said they would look to replace him with an officer that will live in the community.

Council gives feedback on IPP meeting

More than 200 people are estimated to have attended a meeting on Monday (March 18) at the Pemberton Legion that featured guest speakers opposed to run-of-river power projects. Members of council and village staff were among those in attendance.

Council received dozens more petition slips demanding to halt the community power project Request For Expression of Interest (RFEI) process that is currently underway before being asked for their perspectives on Monday's meeting. Multiple councillors said they felt good information was provided at the gathering, while chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland said the meeting was "useful."

Though some members of the public have been outspoken in their opposition to pursuing the potential development on Pemberton Creek, council continues to hold the position that it would like to see what options become available via the RFEI before coming to any decisions.

Coun. Mike Richman said he is concerned that Pemberton Valley residents have started to form "camps" on either side of the debate, and asked for people to keep an open mind before forming an opinion on the initiative.

"It's great to see so many people involved but there seems to be a growing atmosphere like that," said Richman. "For myself, I don't want to make a decision until I've seen something to decide on. I don't want to reject an idea that I haven't even looked at.

"There was great information last night, stuff that I'll definitely keep close when it comes to decision making," he continued. "But for me, personally, there might be other concepts out there that none of us in this room have ever considered."

The RFEI is scheduled to close March 28. Council has committed to re-presenting the broad concepts of any submissions village staff finds appropriate in an open house format at a later date.

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