Good fences make good neighbours, and good gates apparently make for safer subdivisions, Lacombe County has found.
The county recently reviewed the effectiveness of a two-year pilot project that saw a gate installed at the entrance to the Westside Country Estates subdivision on the southwest side of Sylvan Lake.
The results showed the gate, which was kept open during daylight hours, appeared to reduce crime.
“During discussions with the co-op, it was noted that after the installation of the gate, there was a significant reduction in property theft and trespass issues reported,” says a report to council from county operations director Bill Cade.
Installing gates on county road allowances was not previously allowed. If, based on the success of the Westside Country Estates project, the county wants to allow more gates, a policy will need to be developed, suggests Cade.
The county would want to ensure a number of conditions were met, such as unanimous approval of a gate in writing from subdivision residents.
Also, public access must not be restricted during daylight hours and a plan must be created so emergency services responding to an incident can get in. The county must also be given keys or the access code.
The cost of installation and maintenance would be entirely up to residents.
County Coun. Ken Wigmore said he would support other subdivision applications to install gates.
“I don’t have a problem with them at all,” said Wigmore, who is president of Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Crime Watch.
“I think if they’re set up right, they’ll be quite fine.”
The biggest concern was ensuring emergency vehicles could reach subdivision homes without delay. That can be addressed by sharing access codes with emergency services or installing lock boxes — similar to those used by many businesses.
Council voted to direct staff to create a gated community policy.
So far, there have not been any other applications come forward, said Wigmore.