Sackville councillor calls on RCMP to do more to protect the town’s water supply

Coun. Michael Tower

Sackville councillor Michael Tower says the local RCMP detachment should be doing a better job of ticketing and moving along truck drivers who park overnight next to the town’s water supply.

During Monday’s town council meeting, Tower pressed RCMP Sgt. Paul Gagné to enforce no parking restrictions on the Walker Road off-and on-ramps at Exit 500 on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway.

“It’s a broken record for me, you’re probably tired of hearing it,” Tower told Gagné, “[but] if anything ever happened for this town, that’s our water supply.”

Tower added that as he was on his way to Amherst early one morning last week, he noticed an Irving truck hauling two oil tankers parked along the Walker Road highway on-ramp in spite of the four no parking signs that the province has installed there.

He said that it would have been disastrous if the tankers had leaked.

“I would think the water supply risk is pretty high if we have vehicles like that there,” he added, “and I think it would be a priority, not as much as an armed robbery, but at the same time, if it leaked, it would be bigger than an armed robbery and if the RCMP aren’t going to discourage people, then who’s going to do it?”

Tower said the extra bylaw enforcement officers the town hired during the summer found nine trucks parked illegally overnight along the Walker Road on-ramp in the space of one month.

Gagné’s response

Sgt. Gagné acknowledged that an oil spill would be serious, just as an armed robbery would be.

“Except the difference is, being as an armed robbery is totally 100 per cent my job, right, but a spill isn’t,” Gagné said, adding that for the RCMP, parking violations are not a top priority.

“If I have to pick and choose what we’re doing, I promise you, you want me looking into sexual assaults, domestic violence…mental health investigations; other things are more important than that [parking violations].”

Tower replied that since the RCMP are on night patrols anyway, officers could make checking for trucks parked overnight along the highway on-ramp part of their routine.

“I personally don’t think it takes much out of their routine for them to pull off at Exit 500 and then go right back up on the highway,” Tower said later during an interview.

“If nobody’s there, they can keep on going,” he said. “The RCMP aren’t doing their job to protect us.”

Tower said he has raised the issue a number of times in closed-door sessions with the RCMP.

Town Council decided to hold RCMP briefings in public beginning last month after Warktimes questioned why the regular monthly sessions with police were being held in-camera.

Tower said he was pleased that at the end of his exchange with Gagné, Mayor Higham suggested to the sergeant that he report back to council on the issue of illegal truck parking near the town’s water supply.

“When you have staff that are going out on the highway, if they could come down that way and take a peek and let us know what kind of numbers you’re seeing, that would be helpful for us to understand,” Higham told Gagné.

“We’ve also got an opportunity I think to talk to the province about what other enforcement mechanisms that we have for that watershed,” the mayor added.

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3 Responses to Sackville councillor calls on RCMP to do more to protect the town’s water supply

  1. Sally Cunliffe says:

    Tower was lecturing an RCMP officer on his job duties? that’s rich.. even for sacktown.. I remember trying to discuss a great skatepark project for the youth and Tower couldn’t have cared less.. I’d love to see more young town councillors.

    • Les Hicks says:

      Sally, check out the Town of Sackville website and you’ll find the following : “During the summer months only (between June and mid-September) you can reach a Town of Sackville By-law Enforcement Officer at 540-1722, outside of our regular business hours (evenings, weekends and holidays). For all other non-emergencies regarding By-law infractions and complaints during evenings, weekends and statutory holidays, throughout calendar year, please contact the RCMP at 1–800–665–6663.”

      Also, check out BY-LAW NO. 263 : TOWN OF SACKVILLE POLICING BY-LAW : Those Members or persons who form part of the Municipal Police Service : (a) will perform the duties of peace officers; (b) will render such services as are necessary to: preserve the peace, protect life and property, prevent crime and offences against the laws of Canada and the laws in force in the Province, AND BY-LAWS OF THE TOWN, apprehend criminals, offenders and others who may be lawfully taken into custody… (c) will render such services as are necessary to police offences against by-laws of the Municipality, to enable an effective and efficient delivery of police services in the Municipality.

      Unless I am interpreting this information incorrectly, it appears that Councillor Tower has a right and a duty to request that the RCMP (the Municipal Police Service for the Town of Sackville) enforce the town by-laws relating to parking. The town is after all paying for the services of the RCMP.

      Finally, what exactly does a proposed skateboard park have to do with the safety of the town water supply?

  2. Rima Azar says:

    Yesterday evening, I bumped into you Mr. Wark at our “beloved” Ducky’s. I was happy to see you (doing well) and I told you so.

    When you kindly asked me where I have been (absent from comments since the summer), I immediately replied that, “although silent, I remain a faithful reader”.

    I am not back to comment writing. I am just taking a little break, from my silence, for a quick friendly wink just to say: Thank you for existing, for your talent, and Happy Thanksgiving!

    Well, maybe you do not know it, but on a STRICTLY personal blog (another fun name), where thus far no reader has accused me of being a “racist” and “a racist, ignorant or both” for loving Canada/our army (Where is our “Mysterious yet not very polite” Wrayton?), I am having fun indulging in writing posts. Anyhow, if/when this happens, I will have the chance to post this comment AND my reply to it. No, self-censoring 😊.

    Anyhow, please keep up with your highly informative articles. I read the latest ones. All are excellent (I am a fan, as you know. I will always be).

    As for our RCMP, I say a BIG thank you for all your sacrifices and what you do to keep us safe, whether here in Sackville or anywhere across the country.

    From this article, it seems to me that the water protection request by Councillor Tower, in as much as it is important for our health/safety, does not seem to be within the mandate of the RCMP. How do other small towns do it? Who usually pays for such a service?

    Even during civil war times, no militia protected the water reserve in my Beirut neighbourhood, which is located right across my dad’s store on a busy street. This water reserve was targeted with invading armies’ shelling and other shelling or bombs (I now recall how my dad put barrels of sand in front of his store to protect clients/staff).

    To come back to our peaceful “sweet little Sackville”, why should oil spill prevention be among the duties of our RCMP officers? Maybe I missed this piece of information or logic.

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