RCMP busy since mill closure

Police resources strained since reports of domestic violence double.

Burns Lake RCMP concerned about a reported increase in calls for service since mill closure.

Earlier this month St. Sgt. Grant MacDonald of the Burns Lake RCMP detachment made a presentation to the Village of Burns Lake council that highlighted a 233 per cent increase in calls to respond to domestic violence since the closure of the Babine Forest Products mill. “Some of this is linked to the results of the displacement of workers from the Babine mill [fire],” says MacDonald.

‘Domestic violence’ covers a wide range of incidents. While the dramatic image of physical spousal abuse first comes to mind MacDonald cautions against sensationalizing the facts. “A lot of those calls were for interventions in verbal domestics. They could have been boyfriends and girlfriends or husbands and wives getting into verbal arguments.” In these situations there is no physical abuse.

The biggest spike in numbers involved arguments between youth and parents where youth are defined as any children living in their parent’s residence. “A lot of our homes in the Burns Lake area have youth in their early to mid-twenties still living at home,” says MacDonald.

Other media have reported that there’s been no increase in hospital visits in Burns Lake as the result of domestic violence, but a spokesperson for Northern Health was unable to confirm that unsourced report.

From a policing perspective this increase in calls creates a unique strain on local resources.  “When we get calls for domestic violence it requires a multiple member response”, says MacDonald. “Depending on what time of the day it is, we don’t have a lot of members on the street… so we may need to put other members on call or require them to be called in on overtime.”  This not only strains the budget but it affects the readiness of officers to respond to other incidents.

While MacDonald stresses how effectively all levels of government and First Nations have been working together to care for those that have lost their jobs as a result of the mill fire, he is concerned about the effect that the end of employment insurance benefits will have locally.  With unemployment benefits expected to begin running early in the new year, “we are anticipating a busy month of December through Christmas,” says MacDonald.

The recent announcement of the intention of Hampton Affiliates to rebuild the mill will not result in local employment until 2013 at the earliest in terms of construction employment, and the mill itself will likely not be ready to process timber until 2014.


Just Posted

Homemade snow

An RCMP officer in Fraser Lake tossed a cup of boiling water… Continue reading

Government warns of polluted Bulkley Valley air

Recent air quality alerts in the Bulkley Vally - including Burns Lake… Continue reading

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

B.C. hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

B.C. firefighters rescue bear cub stuck up a tree

Family Day was eventful for cub, firefighters

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Most Read