New copper laws now in effect
Jul 30, 2012 / 4:00 pm
Copper theft has cost Kelowna taxpayers about $250,000 over the past 18 months.
City Civic Operations Director, Joe Creron, says he hopes a new law prohibiting the buying and selling of stolen metals will help slow the pace of copper wire theft within the city.
New provincial legislation which came into effect July 23, makes it mandatory for metal dealers and recyclers to report transactions to police on a daily basis.
"I'm really happy to see the RCMP working with the metal recyclers to make sure ones (recyclers) that aren't legitimate are dealt with. We need to make sure they stop stealing our copper wire because they are causing us a lot of trouble," says Creron.
Cst. Kris Clark says the RCMP are already working with local metal dealers and recyclers to begin the reporting process.
"To maintain efficiency, a program that is already being used by the Kelowna RCMP and pawn shops will be further utilized with all local dealers coming online by August 15," says Clark.
On top of the cost to taxpayers, Creron says there is also a serious risk to public safety.
Creron says, in some cases, thieves are leaving live wires exposed on lamp standards leaving behind a serious safety hazard.
He says copper theft from street lights is happening everywhere in the city not just the outlying industrial or rural areas.
"We've had thefts on Dilworth Mountain, we've had them on Gordon Drive, at the Mission Recreation Centre," says Creron.
At the end of April, a 35-year-old Kelowna man, accused of stealing copper wire in the June Springs area, died after coming in contact with high voltage electricity.
Metal dealers failing to comply with the regulations could faces fines of $100 to $500 with more severe fines of up to $100,000 for more serious infractions.
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