Following a Voice story prompted by neighbours’ concerns, Fire Chief, staff respond
BY NATE SMELLE
The campaign by residents in the neighbourhood surrounding Harold Black Park to protect the public space from youth using it as a party spot and a dumping ground has inspired the Town to act. Since touring the areas of concern in the park with residents, Pelham’s Fire Chief, Bob Lymburner, has been taking steps to put an end to the problem.
“There are three distinctive areas down there in the bush where kids loiter and have campfires and do what kids do, but it’s a safety concern because of the fires,” said Lymburner.
“They leave garbage everywhere and they don’t pick up after themselves.”
In response, Lymburner said the Fire Department has teamed up with Town staff and residents to clean up the trash, cut the grass and dismantle the fire pits. He said they have also posted five signs throughout the park that inform park users that no trespassing or loitering is permitted in the park from dusk to dawn. The signs give the police the authority to act under the Trespass Act, he said, if residents call in to report any violations in the park.
Recognizing that the fires posed a serious danger to residents in the neighbourhaood and the park, Lymburner said they also plan to step up patrols in the park.
“We’re going to pick up the pace and hopefully deter the kids from going back in there, because the fires were concerning me the most,” Lymburner said.
“If all those evergreens back in there got going, we’d never get it out. If there were kids in there, they would never be able to outrun it and people would get hurt.”
One of the residents who contacted the Voice about the matter last week, Patti Hazlett, said she was pleased to see how quickly the Town responded. Walking through the park in the afternoon last week, she said she crossed paths with a couple of the youth that had been partying in the park. Acknowledging that the kids were there cleaning up the mess in the bushes, she said it seemed the message had gotten through to them as well.
“I spoke to the kids about respecting the earth and how years from now they will want to leave a nice planet for their grandchildren and they were very receptive to that. They were actually good kids,” she said.