Opinion

Bring the law into Mission's wild, wild west

The level of vandalism, illegal firearm use and utterly loutish behaviour of a certain brand of recreational user frequenting the west side of Stave Lake is at intolerable levels.

The further reaches of Burma Road have been aptly dubbed by a forestry official as “the wild, wild west.”

Hardly a road sign or bridge marker isn’t riddled with bullet holes. Trees are shot up and shredded.

Empty shell casings litter the ground in the thousands, and trash gets heaped at gates and pullouts.

B.C. recreation officer Mike Peters described a recent trip into the area, during which he saw individuals shooting out of their vehicles, in foggy conditions that reduced visibility to less than 100 yards.

This outrageous conduct must come to an abrupt end.

It costs thousands of dollars to repeatedly clean up the mess and repair the damage to public property.

Ultimately, someone is going to get seriously wounded or killed.

It’s obviously going to take more to control this than the District of Mission’s existing bylaw that bans target shooting within district boundaries.

That law is obviously being ignored, even flaunted, as the bush rowdies blast or remove signs advising of the firearm restriction.

The scene witnessed by Peters strongly suggests careless use of firearms charges can and should be laid. The RCMP need to be patrolling, setting up roadblocks, and seizing firearms from those who still consider this to be a backwoods war zone.

Alcohol is a factor in some of this behaviour, and that too is worthy of seizures and charges.

Public education and awareness is important, but that must be followed by strict enforcement.

We’d be pleased to soon report that over several weekends, a number of individuals surrendered their firearms to Mounties, had their cars impounded, and face numerous bylaw fines (much higher than the present $100), and criminal charges.

A few months of that attitude adjustment would go a long way to taming the wild west of Stave Lake.

– Black Press

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