Many moving violations have been issued since the commencement of the Ridge Regional Public Safety Services commission in the communities of Stirling, Raymond, Magrath and the County of Warner.
Although speeding seems to be the more prevalent issue across the communities, seatbelt tickets take a close second says Sgt. Rod Tilson.
“We do issue a number of speeding tickets, stop signs and distracted driving tickets,” he said of the various areas. “We were actually just talking with Cst. Travis Harkness of the RCMP about doing some projects here in terms of driving and seatbelts.”
Tilson is of course referring to setting up check-stops to ensure that drivers are meeting all safety requirements while behind the wheel. During the month of May the focus of law enforcement in the Westwind area will be shifted to that of youth drivers.
“We absolutely like to do the education side of it, especially with the young people,” he said. “We also set up a Facebook Page for the Ridge Regional Safety Services and I do a monthly traffic section on there. Each month will be something different (in the future.)”
Coun. Cathy Needham of the Town of Raymond, who acts as a representative on the Ridge Regional Public Safety Services group, also presented some issues she noticed within town limits during Tuesday night’s council meeting.
“Young drivers. They aren’t necessarily speeding, but within playground areas they are driving too fast for the conditions, as children could be running out. So even though they are not exceeding the speed limit, they are not aware that potentially there’s going to be a problem,” she said of the adolescent driving habits near both playground and school zones.
“So the RCMP are trying to find ways to reach out to the youth and say ‘just because it says you can go 50 or 30 km/h, doesn’t mean that’s the speed you should be going.”
Needham went on to say some citizens have even sited some areas in town where they feel the speed should be reduced. Something the Town of Magrath is considering for a chunk of their main street as well.
Actions like that of the Raymond Soccer Association last year, when they set up signs displaying a ‘game in progress’ message, were found to have been helpful at times said Mayor George Bohne.
“Travis Harkness is down there with his kids a lot and he said he’s really concerned someone is going to hurt somebody. And you can sit there with a radar gun and try to ticket them, but they aren’t speeding,” said Needham of the area near the soccer fields. “A lot of people are calling and saying ‘there are people speeding down my street’ and he says ‘we are there with the radar.’ But there’s a perception because those witnesses think the drivers are going fast.”
Coun. Dustin Ralph added the soccer field location is worse than most areas, due to the nature of how things are located – with fields on one side and playground on the other.
With the traffic focus being on young drivers this month Needham hopes Sgt. Tilson will be able to make it into the schools and remind young drivers to be mindful of zones like that.
“Rod will also be coming to council, beginning on a quarterly basis so you can ask questions of him and where that’s at. Then once it’s in full-swing we may back off the amount of times he comes in per year – but we thought it would be good for him to come,” she said.
“I think it’s prudent because a lot of times they all have questions and their representatives on Ridge Regional – sometimes they don’t have all the information so they thought it would be great (for me to come,)” Tilson said of his coming council appearances. “It will be great for one of us to go there and we can answer any of their questions and if they have something for us I can pass it along to the guys if there’s a problem, or anything of that nature.”
Tilson will be in touch with the respective chief administrative officers for each community in order to arrange times, and is excited to act as a liaison between the different communities.
“Another thing we have been dealing with, for the most part, is dog complaints – a combination of them running at large and barking. It’s pretty even across the communities in that regard,” said Tilson of the variety of complaints received. “Especially in Raymond, I’m surprised at how many dogs are in the community. The next thing that we are doing and is fairly apparent is unsightly premises.”
Unsightly premises tickets seems to be more prominent in Raymond, said Tilson, who added there have also been some ‘pretty severe ones dealt with in Stirling, one through a court order.’
“Sometimes people just don’t want to comply,” said Tilson of the different violations issued recently.
A “hub number” was also created to field the various complaints across Stirling, Raymond, Magrath and the County of Warner.
“That will get the officer who is on duty. The way we are shifting to set up is we will be coming here on pretty much seven days per week, and we will work 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. There will be a morning shift and an afternoon guy,” he explained. “In the event that there is no coverage, and it comes to something like a major dog complaint, then the RCMP will respond and get us to follow up, but the hub number will get answered.
To contact Sgt. Rod Tilson with the Ridge Regional Public Safety Services commission and launch a complaint, please contact him on the hub line at 403-715-8513.