As we head towards the August long weekend, Cochrane RCMP wishes to remind everyone to stay safe and well while you enjoy the warm weather. Corporal Troy Savinkoff says that the police will be out in full force this weekend to ensure that the rules are obeyed and everyone is safe. Statistics show that over the long weekends is when Alberta highways see the most fatalities and as a result, the RCMP is trying to be responsive to those statistics. Corporal Troy Savinkoff says, "We always make efforts to have additional resources available on the long weekend. To try and dissuade some of the unsafe behaviours that might take place. It is always the usual things, it's always going to be speeding, impaired driving, seatbelts, and distracted driving."
Savinkoff says that RCMP put the most effort behind the impaired driving issue as it is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada. Therefore, there will be additional personnel out there doing check stops. Motorists can also expect to see a more visible presence on the highways.
Savinkoff says there is an added safety factor that they will be watching for as well saying, "This year with COVID 19, obviously we want to keep those levels low and flatten the curve as Dr. Hinshaw has been saying throughout the year and we would like to educate and help motivate people to socially distance and not do any behaviours that are going to cause a cluster of cases."
The weekend is expected to be a hot one and RCMP also wishes to remind residents to keep their vehicles and homes safe. It can be tempting to leave windows open and doors unlocked. Savinkoff says that it is common for offenders to take the easiest route into your home or vehicle by trying doors and windows. He says it is fairly rare for offenders to break windows or doors so those opening are a welcoming mat to criminals. Savinkoff says if you are going to have windows open in the summer try to do so with ones that are less easy to access and avoid leaving the sliding door open on the deck overnight. Locking up as Savinkoff says,"Adds an extra layer of defense and again most offenders look for easy opportunities and if you can put up a few barriers, they more often than not will move on."
Another safety issue that has RCMP concerned over the weekend is the increase of trespassing in some of the swimming holes in our area. An increase is seen every year when the weather gets warm and this long weekend will be no exception. Corporal Savinkoff says they have already had a few calls to the Seebbe Dam area including a rescue that took place just recently. The Seebbe Dam is on Highway 1x and Highway 1 and Savinkoff points out, "There is a picnic and camping area in the front of the dam area, but in behind to access that area, people are actually trespassing on TransAlta property, as well as Stoney Nakoda First Nation, and CP Rail property. Every year we get called out to enforce the petty trespass act and we do write a lot of tickets. Quite often swimmers do get in trouble in those waters, and we have had fatalities of people swimming in the water either they are not strong enough swimmers or they jump in and it's very cold and they get into trouble."
Inside the town of Cochrane there is another area that is often met with trespassers in the hot weather and that is the Tokai Nature Conservatory which is off George Fox Trail as you head up to Bow Ridge area. That area is privately owned and every year it attracts people who are misbehaving with partying, fires, damning up the river to make it deeper to swim in and diving of the cliffs. Savinkoff says the land is clearly marked with trespassing signs and no one is allowed down there. He adds anyone found in the Tokai or Seebbe areas is subject to a petty trespass fine of $287.
The rules are put in place to keep people safe and it is the RCMP's job to enforce the rules. They just want to see everyone have a safe and enjoyable long weekend.