Residents on 39 Ave have had enough of youth activities on their street behind the Stampede Grounds.
Over the last year, youths have been hanging out at the end of the street and residents report they have concerns over the garbage left behind and stunting that occurs. Katie Cumberland is one 39 Avenue resident who has been given the middle finger and mooned. Others have had their garbage cans kicked over and Cumberland says people do not feel respected.
She feels the youths should have an opportunity to hang out, but is tired of the garbage. “I know when it’s lunch time at the high school. They start flying down the road,” stated Cumberland.
“They drag race down the road. They go side by side. I’ve been actually mooned as they drive past,” she added. “That was a year or so ago.”
“We’re tired of cleaning up after them,” said one resident, who preferred to remain anonymous.
There have been some safety concerns as well. Cumberland said she had seen kids drive down 39 Avenue and the former C and E Trail, along the Battle River, holding onto the roof of their cars or pickups.
One resident saw individuals load up an ATV on their property in their driveway. Residents have spoken with individuals, some of whom appear to be in their ’20s. One resident spoke with a young man over the issue.
“I said ‘Why don’t you take your garbage with you?’ And he said, ‘It’s not my garbage,’ then he just cussed me out,” he said.
People have been seen in the morning, lunchtime, after school and on the weekends. Residents have spoken with police who have attended the area and even made some arrests.
Despite heavy traffic during the Ponoka Stampede, residents say they have had less issues with party-goers in July than from individuals hanging out on the street.
There is a sign up on the 39 Avenue saying “local traffic only”, but residents are unsure whether the sign can be used as leverage to not allow people to hang out.
The issue does not seem to be going away and one resident said as much. “If they’re not here, they’re somewhere else.”
Youths want a place to visit
“There’s good people and there’s bad people. There’s people that litter all over here and they’ve just kicked us out of everywhere else,” said one youth.
One person said a big dumpster may be a solution to give youths a place to put their trash. Usually paper cups, plastic bottles and paper bags from fast food establishments can be found strewn across the road.
These youths have been pushed from one place to the next; the parking lot at the Fort Ostell Museum was one spot, then youths moved to the parking lot near the splash park. For a while, vehicles were seen at the north trail bridge near the Northeast Industrial Park.
One youth feels this would not be an issue if people would allow them to have a place to hang out. Kids come not only from Ponoka but Ponoka County and other communities such as Lacombe.
Cumberland has lived on 39 Avenue for the last 11 years and said it has been the last year since she has been having these issues. She recalls one incident where people were burning materials. “It’s spooky down there.”