By Cole Parkinson
Another delegation came to Municipal District of Taber council chambers in hopes of securing approval of placing gates close to their property as rural crime continues to affect the region.
Jerry Haslam from Riverbend Rock Products had a chance to approach M.D. council during their regular meeting on Feb. 13 with a request of placing more security measures along Township Road 112 towards one of their pits.
“Just two weeks ago someone drove up to the gate, hooked onto it with a chain and ripped it right off the hinges. They tore off the hinges and went into the pit itself. What we are thinking is they can drive right down that road and there is no one to watch them right down by our pit, no houses or anyone around so they are left pretty well undisturbed. Our proposal would be to move our gate, we would still leave our (older) gate there, but we would like to come down the Township Road 112 and put up a fence and a gate,” said Haslam, who was also there on behalf of the Horvath family who were hoping to put up a gate near their property too.
The reason to move another gate further up the road stems from the idea that vandals may think twice about ripping down a gate when they are in visible sight from multiple houses in the area.
“Not many people have the audacity to stop right there in plain sight with two or three houses and tear down a gate,” added Haslam.
This isn’t the first time a delegation has come forward with a request to put up a gate as Rowland Farms also made a similar pitch to M.D. council back in Nov. 2017.
Rowland Farms had suggested they would look at three locations with additional security including lockable gates, cameras and lighting at their own cost as they ran into people accessing their land from the public roads.
Like the Rowland Farms proposal, Haslam maintained the new gate would be put up on their own dime.
“We would put that gate up at our own cost, given permission to do that,” said Haslam who also stated that a key and lock would be more favourable than a code lock. “We would look at a key that we would gladly share with anyone at the M.D. that would want one. It would be closed Saturday afternoons and Sunday’s and holidays. For the most part it would be wide open, Saturday till noon typically.”
Coun. Tamara Miyanaga also lives in the area and was well aware of how much traffic that particular road and area gets during any given day.
“I know that road is highly traveled, besides the gravel trucks, a lot of people go down that way to look over the river and take photos and things like that. On Saturday and Sunday’s I see a lot of traffic but there is vandalism that is happening. There’s also garbage dumping that happens there as well, people come down there and dump their garbage.”
With more people looking to put up gates on public roads, M.D. council realizes they need to take things into consideration as more and more property owners will come forward with the same ask.
While the roads would still be open to the public per se, there are still things the councillors want to discuss the future implications these proposals will hold.
“I do have some concerns but again I think we’ve addressed this as a council and we haven’t come to a conclusion on what we’re going to do with closing roads as far as with safety,” added Miyanaga.
Haslam was well aware that whatever the M.D. council decides will be precedent moving forward.
“What you do for one, opens pandora’s box so you’ve got to look very carefully at that. So I appreciate that, if that doesn’t work out we’ll put a heavier gate and bigger chain on it,” said Haslam.
Council agreed to bring the issue up at an upcoming policy meeting. Coun. John Turcato was absent from the meeting.