By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Community safety was on the agenda at a recent Coalhurst town council meeting.
During their regular Feb. 7 meeting, Coun. Scott Akkermans had requested that council instruct town CAO Jeff Coffman to invite the RCMP to host an information session focusing on what citizens and organizations can do to increase safety in their community.
“As most of you know, there’s been lots of comments on social media about the state of the community with regards to safety, and I know that it is kind of outside of what we can do as a municipality, because a lot of it does fall in the RCMP,” said Akkermans, noting he has been seeing a lot of social media posts on the issue. “I would like to bridge that gap and see if we can bring them here to help educate our community for ways to not only look after themselves, but each other.”
Akkermans said there has been a lot of reports of people checking cars and backyards, and he knew that although this wasn’t an immediate fix, it shows that they are aware of the issue and enables people “to try to combat this a little bit”.
“It’s something to show that we realize that this is ongoing, we realize that this is an issue.”
Akkermans said that Coffman had broken down the cost of the session, which would include renting the local community centre, for which the rental fee would be waived, along with staff time for set-up and tear down, and advertising, for a total of $500 with the waived rental fee.
Coun. Deborah Florence voiced support for the request, saying it was “prudent” to support community safety, and it was important for concerned citizens to get involved with the RCMP and community.
“What we do as council is important, in terms of advocating to the RCMP and to lots of governments for increased police presence,” said Florence. “But I believe that it’s equally important for residents to pay attention to what’s happening in their community, and can meet with the RCMP and share these concerns.”
When asked when it would take place, Akkermans said he would like to see it as soon as possible, as there is an uptick in social media posts right now.
Council unanimously passed a motion to instruct the CAO to invite the RCMP to hold a public information session in Coalhurst on the topic of ‘actions individuals and organizations can take to create a safe community’.