West Kelowna wants province-wide controls on scrap metal
West Kelowna wants scrap metal merchants to be required to follow the lead set by pawnshops and keep records of who buys and sells the materials they trade in.
In a bid to halt the growing problem of copper wire theft, the municipality will ask the Southern Interior Local Government Association to pass a motion requiring a registry at each dealership to be set up.
That motion will be introduced at SILGA’s upcoming annual general meeting May 4 to 6 in Merritt.
If adopted, the motion would be carried forward to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and eventually to the provincial government for a province-wide requirement.
The call for scrap metal merchants to maintain a registry of sellers and goods purchased, as well as a waiting period before metal received can be resold or altered, was made in light of copper becoming a hot item for thieves across B.C.
While the theft of copper wire from public works yards has been increasing in recent years, recently West Kelowna has had copper wire stolen directly from inside street light lampposts.
The cost to repair the lights not only amounts to thousands of dollars, there is also a danger to public safety from the loss of electricity and communications.
The thieves are also in danger as there have been reports from other areas of the province of would-be thieves being electrocuted whle trying to steal copper wire.
Local governments can enact their own bylaws governing the sale of scrap metal, but the West Kelowna resolution wants to see province-wide rules introduced to stop thieves from stealing copper wire in one jurisdiction and selling it in another area.
West Kelowna is currently offering a reward for information leading to the discovery of those responsible for stealing copper wire from street lights in the Shannon Lake, Glenrosa and Westlake Road areas in February.
At several locations in those areas, thieves took wire directly from inside lamp posts.
Anyone with information is asked to call the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880 or the Crime Stopper anonymous tip line.
To report streetlights needing repair, call the district’s works department at 778-797-8849.
The public is also being reminded that municipal crews don’t work at night, so if anyone sees streetlights being worked on at night they should call the police.