The number of calls to the RCMP for non-compliance with public health orders has increased since the start of 2021.
10 calls have been made to the local detachment since Jan. 15, with Constable Debra Katerenchuk reporting that the complaints ranged “from shoppers not wearing masks to people socializing with too many other people inside residences and returning international travellers not quarantining at their residence.”
The RCMP has been angling for voluntary compliance with the orders, but can issue fines.
Katerenchuk said that”Like much of the public, the Elk Valley RCMP have observed an increase in stress and frustration arising from the ongoing pandemic and its related health orders however there have not been any reported disturbances due to enforcement.
“The local Mounties have noticed that most people, by far, comply with the various health orders and regulations.”
In another instance of regulations not being followed, an RCMP officer busted an outdoor gathering at the Fernie Outdoor Skating Rink on Jan. 25, with Katernchuk reporting that an officer happened across a group of approximately 35 people at 8:30pm on the rink, with an “unattended but opened case of Weasel’s Den beer” falling prey to the officer.
“When the crowd was spoken to, no one claimed the beer,” said Katerenchuk.
“These public spaces are for all people, including families and children, to enjoy. Open liquor and cannabis in these spaces are not lawful nor are tolerated. In British Columbia, a person found in possession of open liquor or lit cannabis at an outdoor rink can face a fine of $230 under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act or the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.”
In other RCMP news, earlier in January an officer stopped a vehicle without front or back license plates on Douglas Fir Rd, and investigations revealed the driver had no proper identification or insurance papers. Besides issuing court documentation and fines, the name given by the driver later turned out to be false (and for someone prohibited from driving anyway).
Another stop later on resulted in the male driver’s arrest for providing a wrong name and information. He will appear in court in March for identity fraud.
On Jan. 30, Elk Valley RCMP responded to a single-vehicle rollover 5 k.m. southeast of Sparwood on Hwy. 3.
According to the police report, when the RCMP arrived on the scene the lone male driver was “evasive and argumentative,” and took off on foot into a wooded area.
“The male (was) believed to be with the “Freeman of the Land” and he stated the only way out would be at the hands of the RCMP,” said Katerenchuk.
He was later apprehended with the assistance of police dogs.
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