FRASER HEIGHTS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MINUTES
February 21 2018
- Web site – fhca.ca
- Ed MacIntosh, president
- FHCA is a volunteer non-profit organization – we volunteer our time to represent the community dealing with issues that affect our community such as safety, traffic, development
- The FHCA meets four times a year to discuss issues that affect our community
- FHCA helps shape policy and issues that involve our community
- If you have problems in our community, please send your information to us and we will look into these issues (go to Contact Us on the fhca.ca website or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org). This is our primary site to collect comments from residents about community issues so we know about them and can send them on to the City.
- Membership is free. If you are not currently on the email list, go to our website and sign up (on the right side of website page – click on become a member). You will receive four notifications and four reminders of the upcoming meetings per year. There may also be notifications of open houses or events affecting FH residents.
Senior Chinese Dancers from Fraser Heights (the minimum age was 55 and the average age was 70 years old) entertained us with 3 graceful, elegant and colourful dances at the beginning of our meeting to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They will also be a part of the Celebration of Chinese Lantern Festival at Fraser Heights High School on March 9 in the cafeteria from 6:30 to 9 p.m. All are invited (see invitation on the fhca.ca website)
Treasurer’s report: Financial statement – total account balance is $2201.18
RCMP update on safety and security – District #2 Commander for Guildford/Fleetwood, Sgt Mike Spencer, was in attendance tonight (Community Response Unit). He is at 10395-148 St. The best way to reach him is through his email address: email@example.com. but voice messages can be left for him at phone # 778-593-3396 if something of concern is taking place in the community that you want RCMP to deal with and is not urgent. If urgent, dial 911.
Break-ins in Fraser Heights
- Number of auto thefts has been down over the last month. A group of 6 or 7 men, who committed many of these thefts, are now in jail but they will eventually get out so do not let your guard down. Do not leave your vehicles running in this cold weather with key in ignition and doors unlocked as it is an open invitation for someone to steal your vehicle. If your car needs a fob to start it, the thieves have been known to take the cars and leave them running (in one case, a vehicle was running for 1 ½ days). The vehicles don’t need the fob nearby to keep running but once the vehicle is turned off, it cannot be restarted without a fob. Note that the criminals use these vehicles to commit other crimes.
- Number of residential break & enters has risen substantially and it appears Fraser Heights is being targeted. A very large organized group, who have been difficult to catch, is responsible for most of the B&Es. Normally, B&Es happen during day but this group works in evening hours. They scout around the area to discover which homes are empty or have people home.
- A flyer was sent to many homes/mailboxes of residents to get information to the public (not all residents have received the flyer yet) about this problem and what to do.
- The RCMP property crime team is diligently working in FH now. Many residents have very good HD video surveillance systems and have provided videos to police that have helped identify the culprits. If you have video surveillance at your house, it would be helpful to register this information at surrey.ca/iris so that the police can contact you if a crime is committed in your area. These videos are very important to the police to aid the capture and identification of the criminals. If you want more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you preserve video footage because the system eventually records over itself. If you think you have video footage of a crime or suspects, put it on USB and save it. Many systems only tape when there is movement so you should not have hours to view if you are looking for suspects or criminal activity.
- The Vancouver Police Department also made arrests of group members that were operating in Vancouver. There are still more of them operating in Metro Vancouver – if they can be identified, they are held and then go to court which will put them off the streets for a while.
- There are covert police teams doing surveillance in FH
- The mode of operation – the offenders, usually 3 to 4 men from ages 18 to the 30s, can be of mixed races, wear dark clothing and have longer hair and facial hair but some don’t fit the profile as one had white shoes and light clothing. They arrive in a vehicle which they park away from the houses being targeted and may leave a driver in the vehicle while they walk down the street checking out the houses. They knock on residents’ doors and if residents answer, they act confused and ask for a random person then say they must have the wrong house and leave. They try to determine if someone is home and if movement is seen in the home, they take off to another house in the area. If they see police, they usually keep on walking.
- Once the crime is committed, they may call the driver to pick them up. If you see someone sitting in a car or men out on foot, please contact the police! Make a note of car make/model and licence plate number and a description of the people to give to the police.
- From watching the neighbourhood, thieves know the homes they are picking on and where to go once inside the house.
- They will do a walk around your house and disable your motion sensor lights. Make sure those lights are out of reach so they can’t be disabled or the wires snipped. Many homes have cameras within reach that are easily disabled.
- Make your home look occupied – leave your TV/stereo on as if someone is in the house. These men do not want to be detected and will move on if they feel someone is home. If all residents make their homes look occupied, thieves will move on and they likely will not come back here.
- Talk to your neighbours – don’t discount any suspicious activity and make sure to call the police. Trust your instincts. If in doubt, call the police – police will show up. Your call may stop the thieves’ activity for that night and if this happens often, they will move on. Remember, the police will check out the people/vehicles (take pictures of licence plates) that you report. If you aren’t sure, let the police be the ones to determine who these people are and what they are doing.
- It can be concerning if residents have left their children alone in the house and the thieves enter the house. Teach your children to call 911 if they suspect someone is casing your home or the neighbours’ homes.
- Police have priorities 1 through 4. If a life is in danger, it is priority 1, property crimes are priority 2, and anything else is 3 or 4. If you see something happening, immediately call the police so they can get to the scene and then call your neighbours. Do not email this information as police presence is needed immediately, not when someone reads the email which could be too late.
- These men will operate in a small area one night then leave. The next night or week will hit another area so there are pockets all over FH that have been targeted.
- FH is close to #1 Highway and SFPR so it is easy to escape from but if police have enough warning, they can block our 3 exits and catch the criminals as they try to leave.
- These crimes are not usually considered to be a priority one (not life and death). If these thieves think they are safely in a home and are confronted by someone at home, they might fight or flee. Since some of these men may be high on something, their behaviour could be irrational and it is not known how they might behave if confronted but generally, they have not resorted to violence
- Alarms are a deterrent but these men may disable cameras and alarms by cutting wires and destroy the surveillance footage. Once inside the home, they know they have a set amount of time to get in and out. Point of entry is usually through the back door – they like to be quiet and so will pry out the sliding door – it is quiet and easy to do and does little damage. You may notice small pry marks on your back door if you were targeted. They gently close door on way out so neighbours don’t see any secondary evidence of a break in (no broken glass or damage). Once inside house, they won’t give up until they find what they are looking for. In one case, they even had time to take a wall safe out of the wall and drag it onto the lawn. The quieter they are, the more time they will have to spend inside the house looking for valuables.
- Secure your sliding doors by putting a screw through the middle column. These security kits can be bought at hardware stores. The screw goes in most of way through the doors or windows it is installed on. If you put a hockey stick or wooden/metal dowel in the track, fasten it to the bottom of the track.
- Communication with neighbours is important! Even if you are going out just for a few hours or the evening, let trusted neighbours know you’ll be out so they can watch your house. A big dog might deter a person from entering but a small dog probably won’t – they’ll bark and let people know someone is there but if thieves want in, they’ll throw food at the dog to keep it busy.
MP report by Ken Hardie (MP for Surrey – Fleetwood/Port Kells):
- There is a federal program dedicated to fighting the guns/crime problems in Canada. The gov’t is aware of an acute problem in the Metro Vancouver area.
- On March 7th, interested parties, (such as City mayors, including Surrey’s mayor Linda Hepner) in the guns/violence program, will be in Ottawa to get an idea of what this program should look like.
- Focus of meeting in Ottawa – to use federal gov’t funding for crime prevention and target hardening which may look different in various communities. Guys who had been in gangs came up with a documentary on the gang life. A community approach is needed on how to deal with children/adults heading into or are part of a criminal life.
- Good book to read “Broken Windows Theory” by James Q Wilson and George Kelling (1982). This book had an enormous impact on New York City police policy. The premise was, if there was a house in the community with broken windows that had not been fixed, it showed nobody cared so the criminals started to test the limits. By cleaning up the community, removing graffiti, fixing street lights, mowing lawns, etc., the crime rate dropped significantly.
- Resident complained that the Bylaws department appeared to be run by non-residents of Surrey and they don’t tend to go after vehicles parked on street that might be part of a B&E or are stolen. These vehicles can sit there for weeks with no response. Please note, call the RCMP non-emergency line about these vehicles as police will take care of the problem in a timely manner.
- Kinder Morgan line – issues have been arising about the proposed route. Ken met with Kinder Morgan CEO, Ian Anderson, last week in regards to this.
- Construction impact on residents – the issues as to where to put the line and the timeframe of the construction activities were discussed. Ken will be attending the hearings in Burnaby in regards to the portion going through our community, especially Fraser Heights.
- Kinder Morgan wants their construction to have minimal disruption on the community
- A Resident asked why we were not refining the oil from the pipeline here in order to create jobs? The Prairies ship their oil to the Gulf of Mexico rather than send it to eastern Canada as they say it is it is more economical to refine in warmer climates. There has been no application to build pipelines to feed refineries in the east.
- There are still major refineries in Alberta. We had 2 or 3 in Metro Vancouver but now there is only one left. The refineries that work well are large ones. Canada is not a large enough market to refine the product close to where it is extracted.
- The highest gasoline prices in Canada are found in Metro Vancouver due to all the taxes added on to the price. Abbotsford’s gas should be about 25 cents a litre cheaper as the tax rate is lower (the gasoline companies in the Fraser Valley may take a bigger profit and not reduce the price by 25 cents.
- A resident was concerned about the summer student program that appeared to exclude churches and places of religion from getting grants to hire students. Ken has been in touch with most of the churches in the area to clear up this matter.
- It originally sounded like Trudeau had said the churches had to agree with gay marriages/abortion and the whole LGBTQ community in order to get funding to hire students for the Canada summer job program. This was put in place to ensure public funding wasn’t going to groups working against women’s right to choose and the other groups. The core mandate of organization must not restrict women’s rights or LGBTQ. Ken said every church in Surrey had nothing in their mandate that said the purpose of that organization was to work against those rights and LGBTQ. The Gov’t looked at the mission and vision statements across Canada and found nothing that would prevent them from getting funding. Initially, a lot of churches interpreted core mandate as core values but these are not same.
- Between now and next year, this will be reworded or removed or all the faith based groups will meet so the meaning of core-based mandate is clear. Lots of churches applied for funding but had refused to check off the attestation. Ken said, if you are not working against your values then this has nothing to do with issues in question and the attestation can be signed.
Trans Mountain (TM) pipeline update, NEB Hearing March 17, 2018:
- Select FHCA directors will be attending the Trans Mountain Hearing on Saturday, March 17 – our position is simple – instead of coming up through the community and behind the backyards of houses along 113th Ave, we want the pipeline clustered with the railway and SFPR. Timing and type of construction were the other issues.
- Although there had been several presentations, many residents did not become concerned or involved until Kinder Morgan started drilling bore holes behind their backyards.
- Kinder Morgan has stated that at no place will the pipeline be above ground but there is still the matter of where it goes and how deep it is laid.
- There is a lot of room by railway, the Golden Ears Connector and the SFPR to lay this pipeline alongside it or under it as the pipeline will be down deep in the ground.
- Their position has been that they didn’t want to damage the shrew population and ecosystems but they did not appear to be concerned about affecting the nearby residents by removing most or all of the trees behind their houses. These residents have already had part of the hillside stripped to build the SFPR which has increased the noise by the SFPR and intermodal yard. Few to none of the trees will be replaced as only grasses can be planted on a large swath along/beside the pipeline. Lack of trees and vegetation will increase the noise level once again. There has been no consultation with intermodal yard or SFPR. They need to deaden sound as much as possible rather than strip more trees between the houses and the river.
MLA Constituency report by Deanna Fasciani (email Deanna.Fasciani@leg.bc.ca) – constituency assistant for Garry Begg who was not able to come (he was in Victoria for meetings):
- Gary was in Victoria today but will be back for the May 9th
- The budget came out this past Tuesday. If you have feedback on this budget, call or email their office. He is having community drop in sessions on Mar 16, 23 or you can make apt to meet with him privately.
- Telephone Town Hall – this deals with issues in our community. The date for this will be on website. At this point in time, only a landline can be used to call into the Town Hall but they are working to make it mobile friendly so those with only mobile phones can also call in.
- Electoral referendum. gov.bc.ca/howwevote – go to this website and do the survey to let the gov’t know how constituencies should be set up and how you feel votes should be counted. Results will go to attorney general. If you require a paper version (pdf copy), you can request this online or phone Deanna and she’ll send it to you.
The last meeting of the FHCA for the 2017/2018 year will be:
May 9, 2018