Gasoline Alley businesses would like to see a satellite RCMP station located in the busy highway commercial area.
The idea was discussed at a meeting this week of the Gasoline Alley Business Group, an organization formed to improve communication among the 120 or so businesses in the Red Deer County hamlet, said organizer Brenda Neufeld, whose family owns Turple Brothers.
“I think as a group of businesses, we need to push for that,” said Neufeld.
Red Deer Rural RCMP, which covers Gasoline Alley, is based in Blackfalds, and businesses like the idea of having a closer presence.
“If we need petitions or whatever to push for things, then we will work with the type of idea,” said Neufeld.
Neufeld said businesses are working to improve communication between them to better protect their properties from criminals. They have discussed what sorts of suspicious activity they should be on the lookout for and what to do if they spot unusual visitors.
“It’s good for businesses to get to know each other and create a strong community,” she said.
“We deal with the crime things as well, but we want it to be a positive community.”
County Coun. Jean Bota, whose division includes Gasoline Alley, was at the meeting and believes a satellite police station is needed.
“I think we have to start looking at something seriously,” she said.
Bota said the county has land set aside for a potential station already, and she plans to raise the issue with administration.
“I’m going to take it back. I think we need to get serious about it.”
Gasoline Alley has changed over the years. Besides the rapid business growth, it is now home to a significant number of residents, with more housing to come.
Businesses in nearby industrial parks would also benefit from a more locally based police presence.
Bota, who is president of the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association, applauded Neufeld’s efforts to unite businesses, adding that crime prevention requires the efforts and co-operation of many individuals.
“It’s that community ownership we need in all communities.”
Neufeld said businesses in the area also discussed other issues this week, such as the proposed indoor farmers market, which was received favourably.
Some concerns remain, such as how Gasoline Alley will be affected by the county’s Junction 42 development on the highway east of Penhold.
When the service road used by truckers to park their rigs was removed last year, valuable customers for a number of businesses went with it, said Neufeld.