By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Inappropriate behaviour around a Picture Butte campground has council mulling possible solutions.
During their regular April 23 meeting, Picture Butte town council reviewed a resident letter expressing concerns over questionable activity at the gazebo and campground by 4th Street N.
In their letter, the resident raised concerns over activity in the area, including loud vehicles racing up and down the hill, suspicious vehicle parked for long periods of time, loud music being played at all hours, people lighting fires by the gazebo and used needles being found around the gazebo.
The resident said in the letter that while the authorities do come out to address these issues, there does not appear to be any follow up to ensure that rules are being followed. Stressing that their concern does not lie with “the families and citizens that use the facilities that the town has provided appropriately”, but rather with those misusing the facilities in this manner, they asked that for a solution to be established so that “the use of the facilities is not taken away from everyone”.
Mayor Cathy Moore noted that the town has had this issue before, but that “short of having somebody sit there day and night”, she wasn’t sure what to do for a solution.
Coun. Joe Watson noted that some residents had contacted him previously about a party in that area one night, but when he went over they had scattered.
They had also contacted the RCMP, and Watson said according the the RCMP’s report, by the time they got there, no one was there so they left.
He had also spoken to others in the area about it, who raised the possibility of the town installing bump strips to slow down drivers. The Town of Nobleford has them, he said, and they can place them temporarily in areas where they are having problems.
“No matter what they’re doing up top, partying or whatever — which is illegal, to have liquor in a public place — but then they go hurling down the hill, and but the time they’re leveled off, we get, just down here (by the town office) they’re doing Mach 1,” said Watson.
“(They) suggested that we maybe look at some bump strips right at the bottom of the hill, and that would certainly slow them down, coming down that hill, because there are a ton of kids on that street.”
Another suggestion Watson passed along to council was opening both the west and east end of the gates there. The town currently keeps the east-end gates closed, and “hot-rod Johnny comes around the corner and thinks he going to make the full loop”, only to encounter the closed gates at 4th Street.
Moore asked why were the gates kept open there, to which Watson said that the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District, which owns the land the Walk on the Wild Side pathway is on, wants the gates open.
Moore expressed concern over drivers potentially going on to the soon-to-be hard surfaced trail and ruining it and asked if they should put a gate at the end of 4th Street to prevent damage to the trail. Watson said he believed that when the town spoke to LNID about it, they “weren’t interested in blocking that off”.
“Where our street ends, I guess there’s no reason to stop us from blocking it off with a gate,” said Watson.
“But I guess the LNID said, and their argument was, because they have a lease with us from the gazebo east, right, so their access is there. I think Keith (Davis, town CAO), I’m almost sure that Keith talked to them about whether they were in favour of blocking that bottom end off, and they were not.”
Watson added that to block off that end would require a lot of fencing and gating, and if LNID needed to go in, they would need to get a key. Moore said that giving LNID the key would be the simple solution, as it was effecting the town’s residents’ safety.
Coun. Henry de Kok, referring to a previous motion made at their regular April 8 meeting, said they could get security cameras to cover the area. In their April 8 meeting, council had passed a motion to direct administration to look into some different options of security cameras that the town could set up at the new Lion’s Park building.
“Put (a camera) on top of the little pump-house by the gazebo, it’ll record all license plates, everyone walking, lighting fires,” said de Kok.
As Davis was not present at the meeting and was away, council agreed they should wait to discuss it with him once he is back.
Council passed a motion to write a letter back to the resident stating they were looking into numerous remedies for the situation.