SUNDRE — Although the West Country was at least as busy as, if not busier, over the Labour Day long weekend than in past years, no major emergencies were reported.
Both the local fire department as well as the RCMP detachment said the period from Friday, Sept. 4 to Monday, Sept. 7 was relatively quiet.
“The start of the weekend kept our office quite busy, but tapered off after Saturday, which I attribute to the stark change in the weather. Overall, the weekend was comparable to long weekends pre-COVID,” said Cpl. Joe Mandel by email in response to questions.
Throughout the course of the long weekend, police responded to about 30 calls for service, which was slightly down from last year's Labour Day weekend, said Mandel.
“The calls ranged from firearms complaints out west and in the Burnt Timber area, West Country users requiring police intervention to quell disagreements with one another, (and) a couple of minor collisions and traffic complaints. Our office also received the usual complaints regarding traffic being backed up past the Sundre hill” to the east on Highway 27, he said.
There were no reports of major motor vehicle collisions or off-highway vehicle rollovers in the backcountry. However, there was a call about a missing male in the Burnt Timber area, he said.
“It turned out to be a ‘bastard search’ as the individual returned to his camp but the complainant did not update the police. These individuals were spoken to regarding the waste of police resources.”
Although the corporal could not estimate approximately how many people came through Sundre on their way to the West Country, Mandel said, “the volume of traffic through town was up substantially with a lot of non-residents.”
A couple of impaired motorists were removed from the roads, but there were no check stops initiated, he said.
“The COVID response had us tailor our check stops back. Plus, we didn't have the resources available to effectively implement and operate them.”
The public reported one of the impaired motorists, with police responding “to several complaints of a white Jeep driving erratic in town. The vehicle was located and the 55-year-old male from Edmonton was arrested and charged for dangerous operation and impaired operation.”
Over at the Sundre Fire Department, members who were on-call responded to only three calls, said acting Chief Alex Clews.
“Our call volumes were low, which is always a good thing,” said Clews.
“And none were major by any means, so that was really good.”
Two were medical calls, while the third was a minor motor vehicle collision northwest of Sundre on Highway 22 involving a motorcycle, but no one was injured, he said.
“We had a bunch of people out west, so it was good that everybody stayed safe.”
That meant firefighters had an opportunity to enjoy more time with their loved ones.
“Most of the guys that stuck around and were on call have young families, so they got to spend some time with their families.”