Pubdate: Wed, 24 Mar 2004
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Duncan News Leader
Author:  Jennifer Hourihan


Duncan councilor Ken Newcomb would like to use classical music to deter 
loitering in the city's Charles Hoey park.

On any given day in Duncan, Charles Hoey park is a busy place.

Teenagers on a school lunch break hang out in groups, while crowds of 
people wait for the bus and tourists smile for the camera in front of a 
totem pole.

But one Duncan councillor believes there's too much unwanted activity 
happening in the park, and has a creative solution to propose.

"I've had people tell me there's ongoing activity there of potential 
criminality - problems with drugs and intimidation of people," said Ken 
Newcomb. "This is a park for people, people of all stripes and it's one of 
our tourist activity centres, and it's got to be made available for 
everyone to enjoy."

Newcomb would like to see classical music played in the park over a sound 
system, which he believes would be enjoyable to tourists but would turn 
away the more unsavoury characters.

"Perhaps it might deter those who aren't interested in listening to that 
kind of music," he said. "It's just common sense that the kind of music I'm 
talking about would not be considered enjoyable for some people and they 
would move on."

North Cowichan/ Duncan RCMP's community policing officer, Const. Jennifer 
Prunty, said people do tend to congregate in the park.

"It's an area we keep in mind for our patrols, because it is an area where 
there are a lot of people. It's a place where people from different walks 
of life congregate in the same area."

She said the RCMP conducted an informal study, questioning people why they 
are in the park, and found while some people are simply "hanging out" most 
were waiting for buses.

Prunty said she visits Charles Hoey several times daily on her trips to the 
downtown community policing office, and isn't aware of any problems with 
people being intimidated by crimes in the park.

She said she wasn't sure playing music would make a difference, but is glad 
to see any interest in crime prevention.

"It's an idea, and I'm glad to see they're exploring any ideas," she said.

Newcomb said he believes Duncan needs to look at ideas like his because the 
city can't rely on the police to solve every problem.

"You can't get things done if you if you just say 'where are the police 
today?'" he said. "It has to come from the grassroots."
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