Tecumseh council approves to consider security measures during budget to protect Lakewood Park

AM800-News-Lakewood Park South

Council members in Tecumseh are frustrated with nuisance behaviours in Lakewood Park.

Council met on Tuesday evening where a report was presented for additional security measures to be considered.

As you heard on AM800 News, an administration report says that since 2020, there have been 78 reported incidents of public nuisance behaviours occurring in the north and south parking lot, primarily on weekends from mid-May to early October.

These occurrences include trouble with youth, noise complaints, people on the roof of the parks shed, public urination, and other issues. 

Numerous actions have been taken at the park to prevent these incidents, such as security cameras, lighted parking lots, monitoring by Ontario Provincial Police, and a security contract with the Commissionaires, however these incidents continued to occur. 

During Tuesday's meeting, council has directed administration to look into installing a permanent parking barrier arm system at the entrance and exit of both the north and south parking lots with timed closures from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., as well as installing security cameras in the parking lots and on the Parks shed. 

Gary McNamara, Tecumseh mayor, says he hopes it isn't local youth causing these issues.

"It's unfortunate. It is really an unfortunate thing that you have to take those measures to protect, really, taxpayers assets. That's the whole thing. I hope, I don't want to speak out of turn, that these are not folks in our community that are coming in there."

Rick Tonial, Tecumseh councillor, says it's sad to see that Town administration has worked to resolve this issue and it hasn't improved. 

"It bothers me that we have people that are so disrespectful that have been brought up by improper parenting that they think that this is acceptable to act this way."

Alicia Higgison, Tecumseh councillor, says this isn't something that taxpayer money should go towards, but it has to in order for things to improve. 

"It is infuriating to me that we have to consider such a thing as installing a parking barrier arm on a public, third space that we are losing more and more of as we go. Third spaces are places where people can go for free that are publicly accessible, and we are losing more and more of those."

Council will look into budgeting these additions during 2024 budget deliberations. 

Further consultations will be required with Chartwell St. Clair Beach Retirement Residence as there is an agreement for their staff and visitors to use the parking lot at Lakewood Park South.

Over the past three years, just over $26,000 has been used in mitigation efforts. 

Lakewood Park is located at 13451 Riverside Drive East.