By Mike Gregory
The Town of Ladysmith is undertaking a review of any potential privacy concerns after receiving a request from the maritime society and arts council to install security cameras.
Local officials met with representatives from the Ladysmith Maritime Society and Arts Council of Ladysmith and District recently to discuss the possibility of installing four cameras as well as an additional light at the 610 Oyster Bay Drive building.
The town owns the building and currently leases it to both organizations.
According to a letter sent by maritime society executive director Rod Smith to the town, vehicle break-ins as well as gas thefts have become a “regular occurrence.”
“We’ve been working with the town for years on developing a security plan,” Smith told the Chronicle.
“As it stands right now, we think putting up cameras will help deter people. It’s not a huge initiative but it’s just another step.”
Volunteers installed 14 new high-definition, infrared cameras in September in the public marina.
The four new cameras and light would be placed in strategic areas in the upper parking lot on the machine shop.
“They would only come on if there’s an event,” Smith said.
LMS has spent $6,000 out of its own budget to purchase all 18 security cameras.
“We’re good partners with the town and this is one of the things that we needed to do for the town and for us,” Smith said.
The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District past president Kathy Holmes said she is more aware of her surroundings when at the gallery after dark.
“Coming in at night, it’s dark and you’re on a lonely road,” she said. “There’s concern from people wanting to come to the gallery to work at night.”
When the correspondence from the maritime society and arts council was discussed at the municipal services meeting earlier this month, town staff recommended that a privacy assessment be undertaken.
That process involves a questionnaire being completed by the maritime society regarding policies and procedures.
Coun. Rob Hutchins said both organizations do good in the community and many businesses install cameras without having to go through the same process.
“I think that safety issues and the protection of public and private property overrides the privacy concerns of some of the people that are down there,” he said.
It’s unclear how long the privacy assessment may take, but any issues that arise will be brought back to council for future discussion.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Ken Brissard told the Chronicle that they’re aware that the area around the marina attracts the attention of criminals.
“When the members are out there patrolling it’s certainly one of the areas we try to concentrate on,” he said.
Smith said he hopes the cameras will help keep the marina open to the public.
“It means that we can keep the marina open rather than going to a gated marina which nobody wants to do,” he said.