Syringes prompt swift action
Town of Bay Roberts installs surveillance cameras outside Bay Arena
The discovery of a significant quantity of used medical syringes in a trash can on the parking lot of the Bay Arena earlier this month has prompted officials with the Town of Bay Roberts to take swift action.
On Thursday, t e chnici ans installed five cameras on the building’s exterior, providing 24-hour surveillance capabilities of the sprawling parking lot.
The cameras are linked to a monitoring system inside the arena, and the footage is recorded. The video feed can also be viewed from wireless devices and home computers.
The system was purchased by the town at a cost of $3,500.
The system was promptly installed following a troubling find by arena staff on March 13 — a yellow “bio-hazard” plastic container bristling with used needles, at least one prescription bottle and other medical supplies. Such a container is ordinarily found in healthcare facilities. It appeared to have been ripped off a wall.
“It sends cold shivers down your back,” said Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood.
The town had long considered the idea of cameras as a way to deter loitering and combat the ongoing problem of litter on the property.
The March 13 incident was the final straw, added the mayor.
“It really made us move as soon as possible,” said Wood.
The Bay Arena is an extremely busy sporting complex, serving a big region and attracting several thousands users weekly, including many children.
The notion that someone could have been pricked by one of these needles and potentially exposed to a virus or some other disease had town leaders scrambling.
“We can’t have needles around where there’s been so many young people,” said Wood. “We don’t want anybody stabbing themselves.”
Bay Arena manager Norm Hill said stadium staff have found used syringes before, but nothing on this scale.
“It’s frightening,” he told The Compass.
As soon as the drug paraphernalia was discovered, Hill informed the RCMP.
“They came over, took it and disposed of it. I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “They said this is probably one of the worst places around the bay.”
Arena of ficials have already noticed a reduction in the amount of loitering on the parking lot, and attribute this to the presence of the cameras.
Many mornings there are cars parked outside the arena, sometimes as early as 9 a.m., with some speculating that drug activity is what draws their occupants to the lot.
With the discovery, Hill is purchasing needle-resistant gloves for his staff when they are out cleaning up garbage.
“It’s bad enough that people are doing it, but then just to dispose of it right there; it’s unbelievable,” said Hill.
A report by CBC News on March 12 highlighted intravenous drug use as a growing problem in Conception Bay North.
The report stated that U-Turn Drop-in Centre, an addictions centre in Carbonear, has some 450 visits per month. Most visitors under the age of 25 are injecting drugs.
Policy say the drug of choice appears to be Dilaudid and Fentanyl, which are both significantly stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine.
The Bay Arena lot is notorious for its popularity amongst the younger populace in the community as a place to park their cars, hang out and eat food from one of the numerous fast food establishments in the area.
Often, the patrons will eat the food and then discard the wrappings and bags by opening the car door and dropping it onto the asphalt. Even though there are a number of garbage cans in the vicinity, this is a common practice, and it has long frustrated town leaders and arena users.
Wood and Hill hope this new system will discourage people from littering.
“This way, with the use of cameras, anything illegal or anyone breaking any by-laws are discovered, obviously they will be prosecuted,” said Wood.
This large quantity of used medical syringes found at the Bay Arena prompted the Town of Bay Roberts to purchase a new security system for the facility.