No af­ter-hours in­ter­net ac­cess at Lewis­porte pub­lic li­brary

The Pilot - - News - BY PA­TRICK MUR­PHY THE PI­LOT Pa­trick.Mur­phy@ad­ve­tis­ernl.ca

If you’re look­ing for free pub­lic Wi-Fi in Lewis­porte tonight, or any other night, you will no longer find it at the pub­lic li­brary.

The Lewis­porte Me­mo­rial Li­brary and town coun­cil have de­cided to shut down in­ter­net ac­cess out­side of the li­brary’s nor­mal op­er­at­ing hours. The de­ci­sion was made af­ter coun­cil re­ceived a letter of com­plaint from a nearby prop­erty owner.

“We are writ­ing you with what we con­sider a ma­jor prob­lem,” res­i­dent Jim Ryan wrote in a letter to coun­cil. “Nee­dles, garbage, bro­ken glass (are) be­ing thrown on our prop­erty.”

Noise late at night and in the early hours of the morn­ing has also been an is­sue for the Ryans, ac­cord­ing to the letter.

The res­i­dent iden­ti­fied many dif­fer­ent is­sues re­lated to the site, and said he be­lieves the root of the prob­lem to be the pub­lic in­ter­net ac­cess.

The prop­erty own­ers al­ready con­tacted coun­cil and Cen­tral Health to ad­dress the is­sue, and brought it the at­ten­tion of the local RCMP de­tach­ment.

While the de­tach­ment ad­vised The Pi­lot there was no for­mal com­plaint made, they are aware of the sit­u­a­tion and had in­creased pa­trols in the area. When the ef­forts yielded no re­sult, the de­ci­sion to cut in­ter­net ac­cess was re­garded as the best so­lu­tion.

“It’s sad,” said Sgt. Ray Jul­lien of the Lewis­porte De­tach­ment. “You could have some peo­ple who go there just to use it for a few min­utes, or peo­ple com­ing from away, but in this day and age, if you want Wi-Fi you can find it.”

Lewiporte Mayor Brian Sce­viour says the town did not make the de­ci­sion alone. New­found­land and Labrador Pub­lic Li­braries (NLPL) was con­sulted on the mat­ter and agreed to al­low the ac­cess point to be dis­abled. The NLPL has a pro­vin­cial man­date to pro­vide free pub­lic ac­cess to res­i­dents, but ac­cord­ing to Sce­viour the town could alter the man­date un­der the cir­cum­stances.

Sce­viour says ul­ti­mately, a low-tech so­lu­tion was used to com­bat the high-tech prob­lem.

“Their ex­perts said the sim­plest way to do it was just to turn off the router at the end of the day,” said Sce­viour. “So that’s what (the li­brar­ian) has been do­ing.”

PA­TRICK MUR­PHY

Pub­lic in­ter­net ac­cess at the Lewis­porte Me­mo­rial Li­brary will no longer be avail­able af­ter hours.

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