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Ladysmith mulls use of mosquito device

Council may decide to take a swat at vandals using a new device.Listed under recommended projects in the 2011 provisional budget, council has before them the option to purchase a mosquito device for $4,000 for Transfer Beach.The device emits an annoying sound at a frequency only heard by youth.The item drew debate from councillors during the budget proceedings by Coun. Steve Arnett.Arnett didn’t like the message installing such a device would send the large population of local youth who cause no problems.He did not want to see all youth targeted for the actions of a few.Mayor Rob Hutchins said vandalism come in waves in Ladysmith and is willing to try the device if it means deterring potential vandals. Hutchins said he was not aware of the mosquito device, but did know some towns had tried playing classical music to stop loitering.“If it’s used when we typically wouldn’t expect people to be in the park ... if it deters people from utilizing the park in those unusual hours, I’d be supportive of looking at it.”Vandalism is costly for the community, he said, noting the device would not interfere with people’s regular enjoyment of the park.Coun. Duck Paterson would also like to see the device given a try. He doesn’t believe the device is targeting youth, but targets people who are being destructive.“We have really great young people, but we are no different than any other community and a lot of the issues are done by a small core of vandals.“Mostly they are young and hopefully this will be an effort to curb that.”Paterson said the barbecues at Transfer Beach cost the Kinsmen $8,000. They were trashed.“It is proven it was a small group of young people,” said Paterson.The $4,000 for the cost of the unit is far less than some potential losses and repairs, he added.Coun. Bruce Whittington during the meeting said he would rather see a person hired to patrol trouble areas instead of just installing a device.Whittington recently attended a meeting with the chamber of commerce and Downtown Business Association when it was brought up that more needs to be done in the name of late-night security.“One of the solutions that was bounced around was maybe we need someone out there kind of walking a beat.”Whittington understands it would cost more to hire someone, but said paying a guard would have a benefit for the town in terms of recirculated income.“It feeds the economy.”Arnett said he understands something needs to be done, but is still concerned about the message such actions send to youth and to the larger population that youth are bad.Arnett said being young and congregating with friends is a necessary part of development. He admits sometimes it can be noisy and a nuisance, but is it is not criminal.“You don’t want to ban it or make it uncomfortable to be in public places,” said Arnett.However, he does recognize there needs to be a follow-up with the parents when vandalism does occur.Arnett is impressed with the technology available, but is also wary of using it to solve a human problem.“To target youth ... I’m struggling with that one.”Arnett said he does understand that people and groups who do put in time and effort around town can and should be angry when their work is trashed.Staff Sgt. Roger Plamondon with the Ladysmith RCMP said he has never heard of the devices himself, but would welcome a new tool to help them combat vandalism.“It may have worked in other jurisdictions ... anything that may deter potential acts of vandalism are certainly worth exploring.”Plamondon said they have received reports in the past about vandalism at Transfer Beach, but does not know if they get all the reports. Some of the complaints, he said, might go straight to public works.Plamondon said as the weather improves and more people use the beach until later hours, they do expect more vandalism and mischief calls.

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