By Kevin J Sabo
For the Lacombe Express
The community of Blackfalds has brought forward a new plan to help keep people safe when buying or selling items online.
In a statement on the Town website released March 24th, the Town of Blackfalds announced the creation of an exchange zone in the parking lot of the Protective Services Building, located on the corner of South Street and Vista Trail, across from All Star Park.
Two parking stalls in the building’s parking lot have been marked with a sign featuring the logo of the RCMP and ‘exchange zone’ with arrows indicating the stalls.
The location was chosen for the exchange zone for a variety of reasons.
First, the protective services building is staffed 24-hours a day by RCMP members, and members of the Blackfalds Fire Department are in and out of the building regularly, depending on call-outs.
“It’s a well trafficked area,” said Blackfalds Emergency Management and Protective Services Director Ken Morrison.
Secondly, due to the security needed at the building for both the RCMP and the fire department, the area of the exchange zone is already monitored by security camera, providing for an added layer of safety for individuals choosing to use the site.
The exchange zone was created by the Town and its various departments based on feedback received from residents, and is based on a successful model brought in by the City of Edmonton after a spike in crime related to buy and sell exchanges was noticed.
“We felt at this time, given some of the crime that has occurred throughout the province, that it would be a good opportunity to put something in place,” said Morrison.
“(It) hopefully provides a little more secure location for people to exchange items.”
Costs for the exchange zone were minimal, with costs cited being the sign and Town staff time to install it.
The sign will be permanently installed once the frost is out of the ground, but it is in place on a temporary mounting for now.