RM closes Pe­ter Pond Road to fight crime

Some res­i­dents doubt­ful plan will have any im­pact

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - PE­TER LOZIN­SKI

The RM of Buck­land has closed a road they con­tend was fre­quented by drug users and sex work­ers, but some res­i­dents aren’t con­vinced.

A few weeks ago the RM closed Pe­ter Pond Road to traf­fic, putting up a road­block a short ways from the main road. Ac­cord­ing to Reeve Don Fyrk, the de­ci­sion was made at the re­quest of a hand­ful of res­i­dents who said the area was rife with crime.

“Crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity was go­ing on, and there was garbage ev­ery­where. But mostly it was done for crime pre­ven­tion,” he said.

“We had some peo­ple that were scared to live out there and threat­en­ing to move back to the city, and we had some peo­ple who were scared to walk down that road. We had one neigh­bour that was clean­ing up garbage all the time and there were nee­dles. There were pros­ti­tutes tak­ing their johns down there and do­ing their busi­ness. We have wit­nesses to that. One gal that works at Pine­grove rec­og­nized some of the pros­ti­tutes and said that made her very ner­vous. She wouldn’t walk down there any­more.”

Still, one lo­cal res­i­dent isn’t buy­ing it. Lawrence Zepp is the pres­i­dent of the Pe­ter Pond His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion and an avid fish­er­man. He’s frus­trated by the road clo­sure be­cause it pre­vents him from fish­ing in one of his favourite spots. “It’s too far to walk,” Zepp said. “If you want to fish, you need to walk.”

Zepp says he has never seen a nee­dle down by the river, and has rarely wit­nessed crime, only fish­ing.

But Zepp’s con­cerns run deeper. Pe­ter Pond is named af­ter a fur trader and one of the founders of the North West Trad­ing Com­pany. He es­tab­lished a fur trad­ing post at that the river, where Pe­ter Pond road is to­day, long be­fore Prince Al­bert ever ex­isted.

In the 1930s, the fed­eral govern­ment ex­ca­vated the site for study. A cairn was erected to mark the spot.

Ac­cord­ing to Fyrk, Parks Canada moved the site of the Cairn to the side of the main road, where it rests to­day, af­ter the river­banks started col­laps­ing.

But Zepp likes to visit the orig­i­nal site, and the road­block, he says, pre­vents that from hap­pen­ing.

“It’s our his­tory,” he said.

Some of those sen­ti­ments are shared by fish­er­men who now park their cars by the cairn and hike the rest of the way to the river­bank.

A fish­er­man out Sun­day night, Dwayne, who de­clined to give his last name, used to take his mother down by the river­bank.

“I took my mom down here years ago. She was able to come down, now she’s too old to walk down to see the river. It kind of takes away from our his­tory.”

Nei­ther Dwayne nor his bud­dies had seen much in the way of crime in their 20-plus years of fish­ing at the end of Pe­ter Pond road. Oc­ca­sion­ally peo­ple would have a fire and a beer. They didn’t see any pros­ti­tu­tion or drug use.

But, they agreed, since the road blocks were put into place, there has been much less “riff raff” down.

For now, the road­block ap­pears to be here to stay. Most of the crime, Reeve Fyrk said, hap­pened at night or early in the morn­ing af­ter fish­er­men had gone home. Since putting up the road­block, he’s had pos­i­tive feed­back from neigh­bours liv­ing in the area.

“Now fish­er­men aren’t afraid to leave their ve­hi­cles at the top. When they were down there fish­ing be­fore, peo­ple would go down and break into their ve­hi­cles and steal stuff,” Fyrk said.

“I talked to one res­i­dent and he said the traf­fic is now half. We’re not get­ting the scuzzies out here driv­ing around any­more.”

To his crit­ics, Fyrk said the MD had to act.

“It’s pre­ven­ta­tive,” he said. “I’m not go­ing to sit back and wait for some­thing se­ri­ous to hap­pen. This is a first step in pre­vent­ing crime in the area and peo­ple have to re­al­ize that.”


The RM of Buck­land has closed Pe­ter Pond road af­ter res­i­dents com­plained the area was un­safe and used by crim­i­nals.


The cairn memo­ri­al­iz­ing Pe­ter Pond was moved to the side of the old Shell­brook High­way. Pe­ter Pond had a his­toric trad­ing post in the area.

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