Bashaw town council heard the local RCMP commander voicing his concerns about vehicle theft.
The report was made at the Sept. 2 regular meeting of council.
Bashaw RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Bruce Holliday gave a quarterly report to councillors listing all of the incidents RCMP responded to.
Holliday noted that regular reporting to communities has been tweaked lately as K Division, (as Alberta is referred to by the RCMP), wants stats discussed with communities on a quarterly basis.
He warned councillors about looking at “percentages” over the actual numbers of incidents in a quarterly report because the percentages over a shorter period of time can seem more prominent than they actually are.
Holliday stated two or three incidents can translate into a “300 per cent increase” in a quarterly report, as an example.
Holiday also provided councillors with a report on testing body cameras for RCMP members, adding that such technology will probably become standard at some point.
The sergeant noted Bashaw area has seen some increase in property crime, including a significant increase in theft of motor vehicles.
Holliday noted there seems to be an issue with people leaving the keys inside vehicles, which makes it easier for criminals to steal a vehicle.
He said that nearby in the Village of Alix eight vehicles were stolen over a 24 hour period recently.
Holliday suggested removing keys from a vehicle makes it much more difficult for a thief to steal a vehicle.
He also noted that he had been asked to oversee the Stettler RCMP detachment in addition to Bashaw; he added that there are no changes in the Bashaw detachment to make note of.
He also said there is nothing overly concerning occurring in the Bashaw area right now and the numbers in the quarterly report are not overly alarming.
He did add, however, RCMP continue to respond to calls involving mental health, and police appreciate the help of organizations like community wellness groups for their help.
Councillors told Holliday they’re happy with the Bashaw RCMP detachment’s performance and accepted his report for information.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller provided councillors with a press release from the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE) complaining about a provincial government idea to privatize certain offerings of the Service Alberta ministry.
Fuller stated the idea of privatizing land titles and other services is being discussed in Edmonton and if it’s approved it could have an effect on the town because fees for things like title searches could go up.
Councillors approved a motion to send an email to Service Alberta stating the Town of Bashaw is opposed to the privatization of these services.
Councillors approved asking local real estate agents to handle the marketing of the town’s vacant lots.
Fuller reported on efforts of the town to market the lots through the “GovDeals” website and while a summary claimed the lots saw thousands of visits and hits, the town received no interest on any of the four lots.
Coun. Rosella Peterman stated it seemed strange there were so many clicks but no interest.
Fuller stated two of the lots are priced at $40,000 and two priced at $45,000 and also asked if councillors wanted to reduce prices.
She added that the last lot Bashaw sold was priced at $28,000 but that was also a lot acquired through tax recovery.
Councillors passed a resolution for the CAO to approach Bashaw real estate agents to market these lots, and also gave the CAO authority to reduce the prices after consulting with real estate agents.
Fire chief resigns
Fuller provided councillors with a copy of Bashaw Fire Chief Jordan Lee’s resignation dated Aug. 1.
“My three year term ended the middle of June, 2021 and I had significant changes in my life the last couple years, making it harder to spend as much time as I would like in town,” stated Lee’s letter.
“With that I do have to resign as Bashaw fire chief. I hope to be able to mentor the next chief you choose, as there are a lot of small details to be on top of.”
Fuller stated there are two firefighters considering the position, but no decision has been made yet. She stated she hopes to hear something before the next regular council meeting.
Councillors accepted Lee’s resignation letter.
Councillors unanimously approved a request from the Bashaw Community Centre board to place a new sign that states “Bashaw Hall of Fame” above the plaques in the hall. The board stated they’re handling all responsibilities for the sign.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter