Letter: Tag and hold bylaw goes too far

Many people have been victimized by metal theft, myself included.

Editor, The News:

Re: No small amounts for scrap metal recyclers (The News, March 7).

I am sorry Dan Banov for the loss of your wire that cost you $450 in repair bills.

Many people have been victimized by metal theft, myself included.

I have been a business owner and property owner here in Maple Ridge for many years and understand the frustration that metal theft causes.

The last break-in, in November 2012, cost my company $15,000 in processed product, and a pickup truck.

At one time, not so long ago, I was being broken into four nights a week. I have had thieves steal material right off my trucks in broad daylight.

Fraser Valley Metal Exchange began taking government-issued ID and vehicle documentation as early as 2006 on a regular basis.

The RCMP has been contacted on several occasions when suspicious material arrives, even if we have not received a stolen report.

In one instance, a report was received for stolen railway material from as far away as the Interior.

This party tried to market it in Maple Ridge. My staff reported the individuals and vehicle to the RCMP immediately.

The RCMP arrived, guns drawn, and removed the individuals and prosecuted them.

This is just one incident.

There have been times when we have also refused to help customers when their product is suspicious and routinely ban individuals who have suspicious material.

Fraser Valley Metal Exchange welcomed the new provincial bylaw and has changed all invoices and documents to accommodate them, all at our expense. I welcomed the province-wide bylaw and, in my opinion, it helps to stop the movement of stolen material from one area to another and keeps the industry informed.

But the District of Maple Ridge has an additional set of bylaws with regulations that are impossible to comply with.

Maple Ridge’s tag and hold policy goes too far.

The provincial government brought in the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries, which found that the regulation to tag and hold all metal, while impossible to comply with, does not stop metal theft.

So all other municipalities do not enforce any tag and hold policies.

Of course, if product does seem suspicious, we have it tagged and hold it for RCMP to check out.

Reporting and alerting the metal recycling industry about stolen material, in my opinion, would go a long way to put a dent in metal theft.

Fraser Valley Metal Exchange does daily reports to the RCMP, as well as documents every purchase, with full legal names, addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, vehicle models, license plates, descriptions of the product received, what time they arrived and where it came from.

What more can a metal dealer do?

How much tighter can the regulations be?

Then don’t blame the metal dealer or the RCMP who do everything within their power to provide the proper information to try and prosecute these individuals.

Theft continues today because of the court’s inability to prosecute these people to the full extent of the law. Even if people are charged, they are right back out on the streets to do it again.

We need more programs to deter people from turning to stealing for whatever reason and make them more accountable for their actions. As a society, we need to be more vigilant in observing and reporting theft and suspicious activity.

The District of Maple Ridge should support local businesses, mine included, instead of creating unrealistic bylaws. Shouldn’t provincial bylaws be for everyone? Why should Maple Ridge be different?

Mike Salo, owner

Fraser Valley Metal Exchange