Oil Springs leaders
want OPP to deal
with drug problem
The assault of an elderly woman in her Oil Springs home has sparked renewed concerns about drugs in that small town.
On Sept. 1, police say the home of an 88-year old woman was broken into early in the morning. Forensic identification officers were on the scene most of the morning but police released few details of what happened inside the home.
Tuesday, the OPP issued an arrest warrant for Craig Powers of Enniskillen. By Wednesday, the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and the Repeat Offenders Parole Enforcement unit arrested the man in Watford without incident.
Powers faces charges of break, enter and commit an indictable offence of sexual assault, careless use of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, and possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000.
Oil Springs Mayor Ian Veen fears the incident was sparked by drugs saying the OPP’s search dogs went right to a home known by local residents for its late night parties and drug use.
“This has been going on at least five years now,” he told The Independent. “We’ve put up with it and put up with it and it has to stop.”
Veen says about one percent of the village’s population has a drug problem and much of the drugs can be found in one apartment building. “They party 24 hours a day,” he says. “Neighbours are threatening to move out because they can’t take the partying.”
The mayor says methamphetamines – which is highly addictive – are the drug of choice in the area.
Veen believes much of the property crimes, such as Sept. 1st break in on Oil Springs Line, stems from people looking for drug money.
OPP have said they believe up to 90 percent of property crimes are committed due to drugs because people cannot sustain their habits without stealing.
The mayor says the OPP do make regular rounds in the village but “every time the OPP come out, these guys scatter as soon as the cops are done, they’re back.”
Veen and council were to meet with the OPP at Tuesday’s council meeting to talk about the issue.
“Somehow we have to address the drug use in Oil Springs,” says Veen. “I don’t know how we go about this and I know it is not just Oil Springs problem; it’s everywhere. I really don’t know what the answer is.”
Veen says some members of council have said there is nothing the village can do, but he wants to try expressing a personal belief that the drug users should be moved out of town.
“We don’t need to be living anywhere near this,” he says. “I don’t think it is good for anyone. Young kids in the area are getting criminal records over this stuff,” Veen adds “that’s the scary part.”
– Heather Wright