Sundre-area emergency providers take pleasure in largely quiet finish to tenting season

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Sundre RCMP reported only half as many complaints as last year, with the local fire service responding to just five calls

SUNDRE The final hurray of the camping season was largely quiet.

After the long weekend of 2–5 September, both the Sundre RCMP Detachment and the Sundre Fire Service reported a relatively small number of incidents. none of them were serious.

Fire Chief Ross Clews told the Albertan on Sept. 6 that his department responded to five calls — three medical assists, a car collision with a dirt bike, and an outdoor pit fire lit outside of town after Mountain View County imposed one nationwide fire ban.

When firefighters arrived to notify property owners of the fire ban, the couple said they were unaware and immediately agreed to put out the fire.

Otherwise, no major collisions or fires were reported.

“We had a quiet weekend,” he said. It was really very nice.”

And although the local Mounties were a bit busier, even the Sundre RCMP department was seeing a much lower call volume than last year.

“We had 21 calls from Friday through Monday,” reported Sgt. Trent Sperlie, the department’s commander.

During the same period in 2021, members had registered 44 complaints, Sperlie told the Albertan on September 6.

And while the Sundre department has in the past requested additional police resources to ease the burden on law enforcement over long weekends, the sergeant said he took a different approach this year as last summer’s camping seasons didn’t prove troublesome have.

“What we’ve done is divert those resources into the property crime that’s been happening in the area,” he said.

Among this year’s files logged over Labor Day weekend were an assault, a property complaint, three misdemeanors and a death investigation that found the circumstances not suspicious, the sergeant said, adding the deceased was in his 80s .

“We examine these almost every week,” he said.

There was also a report of over $5,000 in identity theft that took a victim’s line of credit, he said.

Among the mischief complaints were two disputes involving individuals interfering with the lawful enjoyment of property. Fortunately, none of the incidents escalated and were resolved without charge, he said.

Members also investigated a complaint about the setting off of fireworks in the town at around 10:15 pm on September 3, which falls under the township bylaws.

Officials were able to determine who detonated the pyrotechnic devices, issued a warning and confiscated and disposed of the remaining fireworks, he said.

Mounties also visited the site of an all-terrain vehicle (OHV) accident west of Sundre on private property along Rge on the afternoon of 4 September. Rd 55. Paramedics also attended to care and although the sergeant could not immediately confirm the patient’s condition, he said the injuries sustained were reportedly not life-threatening.

In another area along Twp. Rd. 331 he said police also responded to traffic violations involving OHVs unlawfully operated on the road.

“[Members] educated some people on where they can and can’t ride OHVs,” he said, adding that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge.

An abandoned vehicle left on private property was also called, he said.

“If it’s not involved in a crime or stolen, then we tell the owner they have the right to tow it off their property, but it is [at] their cost,” he said. “If it’s stolen or we think it’s involved in a crime, of course we’ll confiscate it [as] Part of the investigation.”

In this case, he said the vehicle was not stolen or used in the commission of a crime.

In addition, a September 2 collision along Second Avenue NW in the city involving one vehicle following another as the lead driver made a turn into the Aquaplex parking lot resulted in both vehicles becoming inoperable.

“They couldn’t be evicted from the scene,” he said, adding that no one was injured and that the investigation was ongoing at the time he spoke to the Albertan.

Although three references to suspicious people or vehicles were also reported, the references had brought nothing, he said.

“That doesn’t mean those calls aren’t valuable because there’s always one that turns out to be a golden nugget,” he said, adding that people are always encouraged to report suspicious activity that seems out of place appear in their area and that the police, pending other priorities, will attend to assess the situation.

Comparing this year’s stats to 2021, the sergeant said, “Traffic and property offenses made the difference between last year’s numbers and this year’s.”

Overall, Sperlie said the final long weekend of the camping season went well.

Noting an incident members investigated where a sizeable group of people were riding quad bikes and bicycles when they got lost on private property, he reminds recreational users to be aware of where they are at all times.

“A bunch of people have trespassed on a person’s private land,” he said. “They ended up going from crown land, where it was legal, to private land.”

The landowner was upset by the intrusion, “and I don’t blame him,” he said.

However, when officers were present and found a group of people at the scene, he said police could not confirm beyond a reasonable doubt that they were the offending group.

“Under the circumstances, there just wasn’t enough evidence to bring charges of trespassing,” he said, adding that officers instead spoke to the group, with a focus on education.