Sgt. Murray McNeil of the Sicamous RCMP. (File photo)

Sgt. Murray McNeil of the Sicamous RCMP. (File photo)

Anticipating busy summer, Sicamous RCMP taking ‘realistic’ approach to COVID-19 restrictions

Enforcing physical distancing on beaches reminds sergeant of scene from Jaws

Facing another summer with COVID-19 and the potential for public beaches packed with people not physically distanced, Sgt. Murray McNeil thinks of the movie, Jaws.

“Everybody has seen Jaws,” said McNeil, during a May 12 presentation to council. “What happens when the sheriff says we’re going to shut the beaches down? You can’t tell everybody to get off the beach when it’s 33 degrees…”

While there may be public health orders in place that speak to public gatherings and physical distancing, McNeil stressed he and his officers need to take a realistic approach.

“We had COVID last year and we were doing our foot patrols, but we’re not telling people, ‘hey, you’re too close’ or whatever,” said McNeil. “When it’s 33-34 degrees and it’s sunny, people are going to put their blankets out when they go to the beach. And even if we did try to do that, we tried to clear the beach… in 20 minutes the beach is going to be full again.

“And even if we decided to do that at Sicamous Beach, what’s going on at Swansea Point, what’s going on at Canoe Beach. It’s trying to empty the ocean with a bucket.”

Read more: Road blocks to enforce B.C. COVID restrictions on recreational travel out of health authority

Read more: B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

After sharing statistics from the Sicamous RCMP detachment’s fourth quarter, McNeil dove into recent RCMP efforts related to provincial health orders and his take on the coming summer. Regarding police roadblocks held over the past weekend as part of the B.C. government’s efforts to ensure people were compliant with travel restrictions, McNeil noted no tickets were issued. Though people could be fined $575 for failing to comply with travel restrictions, McNeil explained the province has prioritized education over enforcement. McNeil said the same approach is being used in the community.

“So we get these calls sometimes at the office that so-and-so just showed up in my trailer park or my RV site, and they’ve got Saskatchewan plates or Alberta plates,” said McNeil. “We won’t go over there and write these $575 tickets, no matter how upset these people are. That’s not what the province wants.”

With campgrounds in the region already booked solid for July, McNeil sees a very busy summer ahead.

“I think the Shuswap is going to be a very popular destination and we’ll be busy,” said McNeil, later saying the Sicamous, Chase and Salmon Arm RCMP detachments will have their boats ready for the season.

Regarding the 4th quarter report, statistically, the first three months of 2021 were similar to the same period last year, with 336 calls for service this year and 338 last year.


lachlan@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sicamous

Just Posted

North Westside residents can dispose of their unwanted bulky items between June 30 and July 14, 2021. (File photo)
North Westside residents can soon get rid of unwanted bulky items

Large household items can be disposed of at North Westside Transfer Station June 30 to July 14

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D area. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control to Electoral Area D; director calls for respectful discussion

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read