Additional safety and security measures in Cold Lake will be looked at by city council once the ID 349 funding agreement is decided by the provincial government, said Mayor Craig Copeland.
A delegation to city council on Jan. 14 saw dozens of concerned residents show support with Eleanor Evans and her requests to make Cold Lake a safer community.
Copeland says they’re listening to the concerns.
“We’re going to have a community open house near the end of February, bringing the Staff Sergeant and probably somebody from the prosecution office. But this is a huge issue in our community and the M.D. of Bonnyville for sure. One thing council did was we funded the canine unit, and they’re doing a great job helping RCMP members deal with crime. That’s been a great benefit,” he said on The Morning After.
“We’ll look at everything, everything’s an option. But right now, first of all, we want to understand what kind of funding the city has off of the 349 deal [CLAWR or ID 349] before we allocate any more resources for the RCMP.”
The Government of Alberta has not decided on a new ID 349 agreement, leaving Cold Lake as one of six communities waiting to find out what money will be coming in for 2020.
In Cold Lake’s case, they are still waiting for the $16 million promised for 2019.
The delegation had asked council to hire security firms to look at crime hotspots, more nightly patrols from police officers, and to lobby the government for stiffer penalties.
Evans also advocated for neighborhood watch programs, a community awareness program, for schools to promote a sense of pride in Cold Lake and for local media to report crimes and the steps the city is taking to remedy the situation.
She said that escalating criminal activity and violence was having a very frightening impact on Cold Lake.
“In front of council all the time is whether or not we want to increase the amount of RCMP officers. We did have that in front of us for the 2020 budget deliberations, the possibility of increasing the amount of RCMP members by one. Right now, the City of Cold Lake funds 17 positions out of our taxpayer dollars. So whether or not we enhance it,” said Copeland.
“The other thing is what people are talking about is maybe having a security firm, maybe drive around and do the patrols along the back alleys in front of the businesses, so that can be looked at. The other one is the peace officers, the bylaw officers, changing maybe some of what they do more to going around town in the business community.
“Maybe we got to look at building some prisons. Certainly, the province wants to build a prison up in our area will be very supportive. I mean, we need spaces for the criminals to go to.”