RCMP says Guysborough ‘hidden gem’ of Nova Scotia

GUYSBOROUGH — There were no two ways about it, and no one at MODG council last week missed the remark. “From a policing perspective,” declared RCMP Corporal Michael Wilson, “some would call Guysborough a hidden gem.”

The Canso detachment’s Wilson, accompanied by Constable Tammy Hudsak, issued the friendly observation at the end of his 20-minute presentation municipality’s crime stats, between April and September, to council on Sept 20.

“I mean, things still happen here,” he said. “But, you know, it’s not like [some parts of Nova Scotia]. Just for instance, you don’t have the 104 Highway coming through here, so that makes a big difference.”

In fact, he noted that the busiest of the three RCMP detachments in the county — located in Guysborough, Canso, and Sherbrooke — was Sherbrooke’s because its jurisdiction of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s borders the counties of Pictou and Antigonish, as well as HRM, and receives more through-traffic. “With Guysborough and Canso, there’s a small border with Antigonish, otherwise it’s the water,” he said.

Overall, Wilson noted, during the past six months Guysborough County had 916 “occurrences” requiring some kind of police response – everything from assault to break and enter to drunk driving. That included 225 reported by Guysborough’s detachment, 287 by Canso’s, and 404 by Sherbrooke’s.

Still – before leaving the impression that St. Mary’s, with half the population of MODG, was some kind of problem – he cautioned that the total incident count didn’t tell the whole story. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those occurrences happened within the detachment area,” he said. “For example, we might have a Guysborough [detachment] member [responded to a call] in Sherbrooke.”

Overall, though, the countywide trend was peaceable. “For comparison, in 2020, the total occurrences were 259 for the same period [April to September],” Wilson said. “We attribute that, of course, to the pandemic lockdowns and restrictions of the time. Again, in 2021, occurrences were roughly half of what we would normally see. And, then in 2022, it was back up to closer what we would normally see for that period, with 821 occurrences. Now it’s 919, but in 2019, it was 999.”

Wilson’s perspective delighted at least one MODG councillor. Reflecting on his “gem” remark, Deputy Warden Janet Peitzsche commented: “That’s what I always thought.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal