Staff Sgt. Chisholm responds to claims of targeting a business

“They’re in an industry that involves a lot of police activity.” Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm

Last week’s public meeting on March 26, that brought feedback from residents on the proposed repeal to the business hours bylaw, also saw some claims against Ponoka RCMP.

Abby Yaworski, business owner of the Leland Hotel, and wife to town Coun. Marc Yaworski, claimed police targeted her business and clients. She suggested the business hours bylaw was specifically directed at her business.

In an interview RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm said he would not comment on Yaworski’s claims but did say the business hours bylaw dealt only with safety. “It’s all about public safety in the community of Ponoka.”

“It was clearly identified that there was a dramatic increase in the number of impaired drivers following the implementation of the Wetaskiwin bylaw,” explained Chisholm.

He said police do deal with late night calls in the downtown area but suggests this occurs because of late night drinking.

“They’re in an industry that involves a lot of police activity,” said Chisholm.

“It is not uncommon to have a higher number of calls for service to police,” he added.

He suggests police saw a clear cause and effect, which saw impaired driving double in Ponoka for three years afterwards. Since Ponoka implemented the bylaw, Chisholm said there has been a drop in activities related to the consumption of alcohol late at night since the bylaw was implemented and feels it is a benefit to Ponoka.

One of the reasons Chisholm presented findings on the bylaw was because of the previous council. “Town council came to me on this matter, he said.”