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Chabot pushing closed system pilot after Marlborough LRT flare gun attack

Coun. Andre Chabot said piloting a closed system in some LRT stations could prevent incidents like the one at a northeast LRT station last week.

One person was charged with seven firearms-related offences after man was shown on CCTV using a flare gun to shoot another person at the Marlborough LRT station on Nov. 17.  Citizen riders were seen walking through the station while a confrontation escalated.

They began fleeing when the flare gun was used.

Coun. Chabot said watching the video was troubling. He said that he and other councillors have spoken to administration about piloting a closed entry system on some stations. A closed system restricts patron access until payment is made.

“I believe if we had a closed system at some of these some of these stations that can actually accommodate it, where you’ve got limited points of entry, we can eliminate these sort of social behaviours occurring within our transit stations,” Chabot said Thursday.

He said they need to make sure that the people on the system are using it and not loitering.  Chabot said he’d be asking if something like this could be accommodate within Calgary Transit’s existing budget.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the city has long said they need support to deliver safety on transit.  They were pleased that the province had announced funding for transit safety back in October.

“We haven’t seen that money yet,” she said.

The city made more cash available to hire additional peace officers and private security to bolster safety at stations. Earlier this week, city councillors were told a small graduating class of new peace officers was ready to go.

Back in May, city administration committed to a review of a potential closed system after a request from Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean.

Closed systems just displace people: Coun. Walcott

When asked if a closed system was the answer to curbing violence on transit, Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott’s answer was blunt.

“No,” he said.

“Essentially all it does it just move people from one place to another.”

Walcott said the focus is on policing our way out of the situations. He said the reason folks are in the stations is because the system has failed them somewhere else.

One of those is the justice system, he said.

“To ask us to say ‘OK, let’s put a police officer in that transit station, let’s put more security guards, all we’re going to see is more people going into the system, coming out of the system, and going back in at some point,” he said.

“Someone, somewhere is going to have to start having a conversation about why people are holed up in a train station in general, people in need.”

He said the consequence of these things are happening to citizens trying to use the system.

Calgary police continue to look for more suspects involved in the Nov. 17 incident. Anyone with information is asked to call 403-266-1234.