White Rock council has asked staff to look at the costs and feasibility of taking steps to curb late-night partying on the waterfront.
Measures were considered following the quarterly report (April through June) to council by White Rock RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls on Monday (July 25).
After chronicling calls for service (generally down from this time last year), criminal offences (up slightly, but down in terms of crimes in which people interacted), noise complaints (down by almost half over the same period) and traffic enforcement cases, Pauls said that a large gathering of youth on the pier and promenade over the previous weekend – while “anomalous” – might result in criminal charges being laid.
“We’ve seen this building for a couple of years now,” commented Coun. David Chesney.
“The waterfront scene at night has changed considerably, with a lot of youth now making it a destination. It doesn’t surprise me that it blew up on the weekend.”
Asked what the detachment could do to mitigate that, Pauls said that, while officers will continue enforcement on a “zero-tolerance” basis where offences occur, he had heard other suggestions of measures that could help curb the activity.
“There is limiting the parking at night in the (waterfront) parking lots so that we divert people from late-night gatherings out there,” he said. “There’s also the idea of having cameras in the area to deter certain activity.”
He also said that he feels that wide speed bumps in 30 km/h speed zones is an effective way to deter speeding on Marine Drive and related roads.
Council unanimously supported a motion from Coun. Christopher Trevelyan that staff examine and report on the “issues and challenges of putting cameras, parking (limits) on the waterfront, maybe speed humps as well” – although chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero pointed out that such a report would not likely be completed until late this year, following the civic election.
The installation of cameras was considered by the city a decade ago, but was viewed as not justifiable at that time.
In his report Pauls said there were 1,728 calls for service in all between April 1 and June 30, including 453 criminal offences –a 12 per cent decrease in calls from the same period last year, with a slight increase in criminal offences overall, but a 38 per cent decrease in crimes between people.
There were 65 reported thefts from vehicles and 15 thefts of vehicles, he said.
Of 10 reported residential break-and-enters, suspects were identified for four of the offences, and one charge was recommended.
Other break-ins included two commercial businesses, seven storage areas or parkades, and five condo mailboxes, with charges recommended in two of the cases.
A total of eight sexual offences were reported during the quarter, while 90 calls for service were primarily connected to mental health issues – with 45 requiring mental health act assessments and apprehensions.
In the area of provincial violations, White Rock officers wrote eight liquor-related tickets and issued 13 warnings; one ticket and three warnings for Cannabis Act violations, and 36 Rail Safety Act tickets and 142 warnings for trespassing on the waterfront track. There were 445 traffic enforcement interactions in the three-month period.
Pauls said that city noise bylaw infractions continue to be an issue, including noise produced by illegal exhaust systems, loud music from cars, and complaints involving house parties, and that he will be co-operating with a current review of the bylaw by planning and development services director Anne Berry.
In discussing road safety, Pauls said feedback from residents suggests there maybe justification for creating a ‘proactive road safety constable’ position, to work with the community and target concerns “with the frequency they desire.”
“I recognize that taxpayers get tired of police asking for more resources and more money, so I would like to propose that if the community, via this council, wants a dedicated proactive road safety constable, then I will deliver it,” Pauls said.
“I’ll leave this to your future planning and can provide you information as you see fit.”