Image: Ponoka County

Ponoka County peace officer kept hustling with road complaints

Total of 21 responses for damage or interferance with a highway take most of officer’s time

An increase in energy-related moves along with heavy agricultural equipment may be partially to blame for the majority of calls answered by the Ponoka County peace officer.

County council looked over the 2018 report submitted by Les Squires at its meeting on Feb. 12, which denoted 122 occurrences that he either attended or followed up on through out the year.

The largest number of calls, 21, were responses to damage or interference to a highway with the report laying out it’s possible most of these occurrences were due to higher levels of oilfield activity in the county.

However, Coun. Mark Matejka questioned whether some of that could also be due to these large manure haulers running on county roads as well as big dump trucks similar to the one which was involved in an accident in the northern part of the county in late January.

CAO Charlie Cutforth explained that anyone operating those types of equipment on county roads should obtain permits from the county, which lay out the permissible weights and routes allowed. Nearly 2,400 permits were approved last year, compared to just over 2,000 in 2017, with October being the busiest month at 273.

Cutforth added there haven’t been any ‘consequences’ yet for possible non-compliance, but that any reports are investigated.

Other calls

Providing assistance — to other agencies and the public — also made up a big chunk of Squires’s activity, with 19 calls to assist the public and 15 to help out agencies such as the RCMP, Sheriffs and Fish and Wildlife.

There were eight dog complaints, which was also the same number of fire assistance and road ban enforcement occurrences to go along side 13 calls to look into abandoned or unsafe vehicles.

Squires did write out seven citations — though no specific information was provided on why the tickets were issued — and 37 warnings.

The vast majority of the occurrences took place on the eastern side of Ponoka County — at 70 — while the Gull Lake and Rimbey areas in the west saw a total of 41. Just 11 of the calls occurred on highways in the area.

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