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Mischief must end

On the newswire
On the newswire

Town councillors in Tignish made it perfectly clear this week that loitering, littering and mischief must stop.

During their monthly council session, councillors entered into a lengthy discussion with the RCMP about persistent complaints of noise caused by loitering and by operators of all-terrain vehicles.

Garbage, including broken bottles, gets left behind. Black marks get left behind. They are not only a disgrace to look at and a waste of tire rubber, but a telltale sign of the disturbance such action created.

Public and private property has been defaced.

Such complaints are not unique to Tignish, but ATV activity certainly does seem more prevalent there than in most Island communities.

That Tignish councillors are tackling those issues head-on and demanding change is testimony to how much they care for their community. There are a lot of great things happening in their community and they know it. Many residents take great pride in their progressive, co-op town.

They’ve asked the RCMP to exercise zero tolerance when they deal with those complaints, even instructing the officer when and where he might encounter people committing civil disobedience.

It is true that officers cannot be in Tignish all of the time; they have a big area to patrol and other communities require a police presence, too. It is also necessary, as Staff-Sergeant Derrick Hewitt pointed out to the councillors, that residents who are fed up with this type of behavior to report the incidents when they are occurring, and identify the culprits if they are known – and in a community the size of Tignish someone knows.

They might not make it on time, every time, or even half the time, but the information witnesses provide could help police strategize and build a case. If it’s important to you that it stop, pull out the phone in your pocket; it likely has a camera. To a degree, a community can help police itself.

A natural response when individuals are confronted about loitering is, “We have nothing to do.” That issue is not new and it, too, is worthy of special consideration. Tignish does have a busy recreation director and the town has numerous organized activities, like ball and soccer and a beautiful park, but, no doubt, Tignish and any other community could always do more.

But in the absence of more, disturbing the public peace of a community is not, nor was it ever, an acceptable response.

Find something productive to do. Pick up garbage in your community and dispose of it properly. Do volunteer work. Get a job. Get a second job. Go camping. Go for a walk. Be guardians for your community. Learn a new skill. Work or play by day, sleep at night.

The success of the requested zero tolerance response need not be measured by the number of charges laid. That’s not what council wants; it wants everyone to just be more respectful. It’s what every municipal council should want for its residents.

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