Improving safety at Spirit Square

Village will install cameras and exterior lighting in the area

The men’s public washroom at Spirit Square was found vandalized on Oct. 19

The men’s public washroom at Spirit Square was found vandalized on Oct. 19

Village council has decided to take action to improve safety at Spirit Square with the installation of security cameras and exterior lighting.

Burns Lake has had an ongoing issue with vandalism at Spirit Square. According to village staff, crews have been consistently cleaning trash and broken bottles, as well as repaving vandalized equipment in the more sheltered parts of the square. Staff have also received a number of complaints from residents who have been harassed and even threatened by groups of people loitering at Spirit Square.

Staff sergeant Charlotte Peters with the Burns Lake RCMP has told village staff that security cameras would be an effective deterrent against vandalism and other crime in the area. She also noted that, since Spirit Square is a public space, any evidence obtained by video camera could be readily used to prosecute offenders.

The cameras include a motion alarm system that would alert village staff at night, allowing them to connect to the feed from the cameras and alert authorities if necessary.

“This would allow offenders to be caught immediately and create an even more effective deterrent,” says a village staff report.

Sheryl Worthing, chief administrative officer for the Village of Burns Lake, explained that the system would be monitored by herself, the director of public works and the director of protective services. In the event of an incident after regular work hours, they would be compensated for overtime.

According to village staff, increasing outdoor lighting is also an excellent deterrent against vandalism and will boost the effectiveness of the security cameras.

“The lights will be placed strategically along the exterior of the arena to discourage loitering after dark.”

The estimated cost to install the security cameras is $1500. The installation of four bright outdoor lights at each of the entrances to the arena is $2300, bringing the total cost to $3800.

When asked where the security cameras will be placed, village staff said they haven’t researched specific areas for the cameras yet.