SHELBURNE, N.S. – Following discussions by the Shelburne County East RCMP Advisory Committee in early January, the Municipality of Shelburne has identified drug enforcement, distracted driving and litter enforcement as three key policing priorities for 2018-19.
“When council met on Jan. 22 we discussed what we felt should be specific priorities for the local detachment for the next year and these were the three we feel really need to be given attention to,” said Warden Penny Smith in an interview.
“There’s a lot of hard drugs in our community right now. This needs to be dealt with for sure,” she said.
“What we like to see is an increased effort to catch and charge offenders,” she said, adding, in turn, council feels this would “most likely help decrease associated crimes.”
“I know there are a lot of concerned family members and friends out there and we need to do whatever we can to ensure the youth in our communities are safe,” she said.
Warden Smith said council also feels there needs to be stricter enforcement for distracted drivers.
“We believe we need more enforcement for distracted driving and specifically watching out and issuing more tickets for texting and talking while driving without the use of Bluetooth,” she said. “There are other things as well that fall under distracted driving but that’s probably the key issue.”
Thirdly, litter is ‘a major concern for our community,” said Warden Smith.
“We think there needs to be a more concerted effort in watching for and issuing tickets for littering throughout our community. The amount of litter being picked up at roadside each year does not seem to be decreasing,” she said. “It is a major concern.”
Warden Smith said the municipality has a Community Litter-Up Incentive Program whereby community groups and organizations get paid $100 for every kilometre of roadside debris they clean up.
“It isn’t easy work that’s for sure but some have used as a fundraiser,” she explained.
The municipality is hoping to double their annual budget from $3,000 to $6,000 this year with matched funding from the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR), enabling the expansion of the coverage in the community of the litter clean-up program.
“We have sent a letter to the (TIR) minister and asked his department to match our funding,” said Warden Smith. “We have $3,000 in budget so we’re hoping to increase that to $6,000.”
In addition, the municipality is hoping the RCMP will step up enforcement of people littering.
“We really do value and appreciate the work the (RCMP) detachment does,” said Warden Smith. “They really do contribute to a safer community for our residents.”