April 4th, 2023.
Today, the 13th Council of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay issued the following Statement:
We have heard the pleas from residents and businesses over the need for increased public safety in our community. They are frustrated, angry and, rightfully so, fearful. Reports of loitering, panhandling, mischief, littering, public intoxication, threats, lewd acts, sexual and physical abuse, vandalism, break and entries, and increased drug-related and other serious crimes have become common in our neighborhoods. Parents are afraid to let their children play outside, or walk our streets.
As a Council, and as residents, we share these same public safety concerns. We have repeatedly met with and called on Premier Andrew Furey, Labrador Affairs Minister Lisa Dempster, Justice and Public Safety Minister John Hogan, Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister John Abbott, and Health and Community Services Minister Tom Osborne, and Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper to take the steps necessary to ensure measures are in place to assure the public safety for residents and businesses. Those who conduct illegal activities must be held accountable for their actions.
The Happy Valley-Goose Bay RCMP detachment is grossly under resourced to deal with the current situation. Stats will show that the calls for service and police files have increased exponentially in recent years. Our detachment is handling a large number of the total RCMP files within the province. Resources need to be assigned to reflect this situation.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is aware of the public safety concerns in our community, yet continues to ignore calls for immediate and meaningful action. As a Council, we are frustrated with the government’s lack of empathy towards our community, and we are disappointed with MHA Trimper for failing to champion this critical issue on behalf of residents and businesses.
Imagine our disappointment to learn, through third parties that the provincial government has been holding discussions, without Council involvement or input, about engaging the services of private security companies to patrol our streets and trails this summer. Council is not interested in sitting on another “unproductive team” to discuss matters around public safety and security. We need immediate solutions.
We do not fault the RCMP, as we know its members are doing the best they can with limited resources. The RCMP needs the necessary resources to be able to effectively deal with public safety concerns. Criminal behavior cannot not go unpunished. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is to blame for allowing concerns over public safety to escalate in our community. Council raised alarms last year and last fall, that serious public safety concerns would begin to heighten again this spring. Here we are, and there is still no plan in place to deal with this serious issue.
The 13th Council of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is once again demanding that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador take full responsibility for what’s happening in our community. We also challenge the Premier and MHA Trimper to stand with us in our resolve to ensure that public safety concerns are addressed.
We deserve to feel secure in our community and it is the provincial government’s responsibility to ensure public safety.
13th Elected Council
Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay