The City of Cold Lake says some funding will go towards a security pilot project for the city’s commercial districts.
City officials say the funding will be accessible to an organized group and used for “staffed security patrol personnel”. Council says came to the decision after hearing that downtown businesses are increasingly dealing with heightened and more aggressive behaviours towards staff and customers, aggressive panhandling, threats, squatting resulting in extensive property damage, and theft.
“We’ve heard that this behaviour is persistent and consistently located in certain areas,” Mayor Craig Copeland said.
“While we’ve taken steps to address social issues that have been magnified by the economic situation, we cannot ignore the fact that the downtown businesses are seeing potentially dangerous behaviour on the rise.”
The City says details regarding patrolling hours and business supports will be finalized in the coming weeks, but they’d like to see the pilot project operate for six to 12 months.
“Security patrols will liaise with and contact the RCMP or City Peace Officers as required for enforcement, but will otherwise act as a deterrent and a night watch. It is expected that the pilot project will begin in mid-February.”
“Our council is committed to taking this issue on through a number of channels,” Copeland said. “But with behaviour escalating beyond a simple nuisance, Council agreed that we need to see a security program up and running.”