Tuesday April 22, 2014

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Extra eyes will be watching

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Itís that time of year where parties are in full swing ó extra holiday cheer with co-workers, family and friends. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the holidays with some good cheer. What is wrong is not planning a safe ride home.

On Wednesday, the provincial government, municipal police and RCMP across the province along with ICBC, launched their annual December CounterAttack campaign.

According to ICBC, an average of five people are killed in this province in the month of December because of impaired driving.

Attitudes regarding drinking and driving have changed over the years, but on average, a staggering 95 lives are lost each year. Impaired driving is still a leading cause of fatal car accidents in this province.

Itís these sobering statistics that tell us why the CounterAttack program is so vitally important.

During the next five weeks, Coast Reporter, along with several Sunshine Coast businesses, Sunshine Coast RCMP, paramedics and firefighters, are offering a sober reminder of the importance of putting down the keys and taking another way home.

The message is pretty simple really: if you drink, donít drive. And if you plan to drink while celebrating this holiday season, plan ahead before you leave home. That means arranging for a designated driver, using BC Transit or calling a taxi. Some of our pubs even have safe drive programs and offer a shuttle service. Just call them up and inquire if they have that option before you head out for the evening.

RCMP will be out in force up and down Highway 101 and on roadways throughout the province with road checks helping to ensure that impaired drivers are taken off the road. Letís hope the RCMP wonít be pulling anyone over. Take a sober second pause and think before you drink. Letís not add to the statistics.

Celebrating youth artists

We have many talented youth on our Coast, and that was reinforced this week by a unique project being showcased at our RCMP detachment.

Paintings by Coast high school students now adorn the detachment office in Sechelt in a partnership between the high schools and local RCMP. The art program, a first in Canada, is a way for the RCMP to reach out to teens and give them a voice through their artwork.

The project is wonderful and has garnered the attention of the public to a point where three of the paintings have been sold to Coast residents ó a feather in the artistsí caps for sure.

We say kudos to the RCMP for giving these students the opportunity to showcase their work. This is a great community partnership.

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