Katzie member wants more policing

Band council working on burning bylaw

Harold Moody wants the band to take action against members who he alleges harbour metal thieves.

Harold Moody wants the band to take action against members who he alleges harbour metal thieves.

Harold Moody likes to be a good neighbour. A member of the Katzie First Nation, he’s proud to see the land around him transformed into beautiful Osprey Village, with its quaint stores, lush green lawns and river view.

Ask Moody about his own community, just across Bonson Road, and he frowns.

“We’re not good neighbours and we should be,” he said, while standing on a wharf next to the Katzie reserve.

Moody has been trying to get the Katzie administration to crack down on seven houses on the reserve, which he claims, harbour unsavoury folks.

His complaints to the RCMP, Pitt Meadows Fire Department and band office he says have fallen on deaf ears.

The father of six alleges several houses on Katzie are now being used as bases to rip apart stolen wires and cables, as well as melt down metal, which is then sold at a metal recycling depot down the road.

The activity usually takes place at night when people are asleep but on several occasions he’s been able to photograph plumes of thick, black smoke wafting out of a backyard and drifting into nearby Osprey Village.

“It’s frustrating to me because nothing seems to be done about it,” said Moody.

“The band should be able to get rid of these people.”

Moody’s repeated complaints about the backyard burning have now made him a target on reserve.

Four weeks ago, Moody and his son were biking down Bonson Road when he was confronted by a man who was living in one of the houses.

Police allege the man chased Moody and threw gasoline on him as he tried to enter the office that belong to the Katzie Development Corporation.

Moody said he was soaked by almost a litre of gasoline and lucky the man, who is not a Katzie member, was unable to flick open his lighter.

William Edward Lowen, 39, has since been charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, assault with a weapon and placing or throwing explosive to do bodily harm.

The Pitt Meadows Fire Department confirmed it has been dealing with complaints about backyard fires on the reserve and received two calls just last week.

Although the fire department has a service agreement with the Katzie to provide fire protection on reserve lands, it is unable to stop the burning because there is no bylaw.

“We will provide assistant to the band when required,” said assistant chief Rob Chatton.

“We don’t have jurisdiction for our city bylaws on the reserve. We only have the ability to educate and promote safe use of outdoor fires. We try to work with the band council to educate people.”

The backyard fires concern Chatton because embers could potentially ignite a blaze in a nearby trees, then spread to homes.

The Katzie First Nation’s administration is aware of Moody’s complaints and assures him band council is working towards a solution.

Chief Jay Bailey explained the houses harbouring the alleged metal thieves are not owned by the band but by individuals who are turning a blind eye to their tenants’ or friends’ activities.

He has spoken to Ridge Meadows RCMP but was told there wasn’t much they could do unless someone was wanted on a warrant or caught in the act.

“Our hands are tied,” said Bailey. “I can see Harold’s frustration and everyone down here is frustrated. Short of me being a vigilante, there isn’t much I can do.”

Bailey and his council are now working on a bylaw, with accompanying fines, to prevent backyard burning that will be voted on by band members later this year.

He wants other band members to step up and call police when they see illegal activities or backyard fires.

“Instead of calling chief and council, do something,” Bailey said.