The Town of Birch Hills and Council and Administration express our sincere sympathy to family and survivors of the horrific events of this past Sunday morning in James Smith First Nation and the Village of Weldon. It is a tragedy that has affected so many families in our area and our communities, many people will have to live with the consequences for years to come. My heart goes out to the family of the First Responder who lost her life while responding to the initial call and I would ask that each of you consider what you can do to support those families and the community in mourning.
This community has responded to the directions issued by the RCMP by staying in place and locking down our residences, communicating with our neighbours and observing local traffic for any oddities. However, there is nothing in our Emergency Plan that deals with an incident such as has occurred because it has not been identified as an incident that our administration or Council can react to, we have an Emergency Plan in place that identifies Weather related incidents, Accidents (Vehicular, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Air, Bus), Fire/Explosion, Air Quality, Lost Persons, Utility Failure (Power, Gas, Water, Contaminations), or an Epidemic. The Community has an Emergency Measures Co-ordinator as does the local RM, we are mandated by legislation to have these plans in place and updated as required.
We have not been consulted by the local RCMP or had any of our volunteers requested for assistance and until that occurs we will not be pressing any panic buttons, we would ask that none of our residents engage in hysteria. Rather, let us come together as a community during this challenging time.
There has been a lot of opinions expressed over the past couple of days that have done very little to deal with the core issues that are being faced by the people in crisis. This is a time for understanding and consideration of how we can support all those affected by this incident. There is no indication at this time that this community has any direct connection with the events unfolding and if and when we are contacted by the RCMP, any and all of our resources will be made available as required.
Your Mayor, Stewart Adams
Our organization is focusing on our effectiveness in limiting harassment and abuse. There is a shift underway throughout many organizations to encourage greater online civility. It has been cited for many organizations that harassment is currently socially rewarding by hostile individuals, groups, and other social media users.
Collection of social media posts and circulation of information that is any way cyber-bullying, defamatory, racist, harassing, abusive, promoting peer aggression, violent, sexist, racist, containing ageism, derogatory, items inflicting psychological damage, homophobic, abuse of seniors, insults, or any postings and/or comments containing undertones of all of the above, WILL be collected. Should the need arise for documentation, records and other information in legal proceedings, the Town office may be obligated to produce this information. Files have already been started in the municipal office. Collected documentation will be sent to our legal counsel and may be used to compare sentiments targeting elected officials, investigate incidences of online harassment, examine patterns of both users and user groups, and more.
If you use Facebook to keep yourself updated, please follow our page at Town of Birch Hills Municipal Office for updated and factual information.
Thank you for your immediate attention and understanding in this matter.
Town of Birch Hills