A politician may hire security guards because he claims the RCMP is ignoring residents’ concerns.
Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director, is investigating the cost of private security because of ongoing problems with parties, fires, illegal dumping and unlicensed vehicles at the end of Hartnell Road.
“We’ve asked the RCMP for increased patrols and they are reluctant to do that,” said Macnabb.
“I’m totally frustrated. Local folks have taken photos and been threatened (by offenders) so what’s the next step? The RCMP are unwilling to do it.”
Macnabb says he has been left with no choice but to consider financing security.
“I can’t afford to do it on a regular basis but it would show that we care. Residents are beside themselves,” he said.
The most significant concern among residents is parties on adjacent Crown land and bonfires, which could spread during dry conditions.
“If there was a fire lower down, the people up top could be trapped,” said Macnabb, adding that there is only one road out of the area.
In June, BX-Swan Lake firefighters responded to a fire and a firefighter was struck by a vehicle fleeing the scene.
Other complaints from residents revolve around illegal dumping of waste, including animal carcasses, mudbogging and unlicensed vehicles roaring along the road.
“This isn’t a new problem. The RCMP have known about this for some time,” said Macnabb.
Beyond the RCMP, Macnabb has been lobbying the provincial government to take action on Crown land but he says no department wants to take responsibility.
Macnabb is also pushing the Regional District of North Okanagan to get involved because it has rights-of-way across private property leading to Crown land.
“We have an obligation to keep up easements but we have dropped the ball. If we are obligated to do something, we could put up a gate to restrict access,” he said.
Vernon RCMP officials are defending their actions on Hartnell Road.
“We have done road checks and recorded a number of incidents,” said Supt. Reg Burgess, the officer in charge of the detachment.
“We continue to respond to calls there. The big thing is we need to be alerted by residents about incidents when they are occurring.”
Burgess admits that while Hartnell Road is a priority, the detachment faces similar pressures throughout the community.
“We can’t afford to place officers up there in one area. We only have so many resources,” he said.