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Buzz off!

That's the message city council is sending to teenagers, and some adults, who like loitering in Barrie parks late at night.

The Mosquito emits a frequency that's annoying to human ears, and will be installed as a pilot project in some city green spaces beginning this summer.

"It's like muzak in the (shopping) mall," said Coun. Rod Jackson. "It's not painful. There are no safety concerns for adults, children or dogs.

"This is not a message to our young people that we don't trust them or value their contribution to the community. We are trying to protect them."

City officials hope it will help control problems, usually after dark and involving excessive noise, violence, vandalism, drug and alcohol use and other troubles.

"We've had a countless number of complaints," said Coun. Mike Ramsay, "and not just from a bunch of whiners."

The Mosquito has two settings - one for youths, and one for all ages - that can be activated with a remote control, timer, motion sensor or cellphone. The intention would only be to use the Mosquito in parks with problems and not 24/7 - probably just from 11 p.m. until 4 or 5 a.m. It can be aimed at specific areas in parks, such as the playground equipment, or other areas.

City staff would have the flexibility to use the frequency deemed necessary in parks with problems, but the target is youths and young adults aged 13 to 25.

"The discrimination drum has been beaten to death," said Coun. Michael Prowse. "The only ones who own our parks are the taxpayers. Unless you pay taxes, you don't have any skin with me."

"You talk about discrimination," said Coun. John Brassard. "What about the people who paid $400,000 to live beside a park. What about them?"

Coun. Barry Ward tried to change the Mosquito setting so that everyone could hear it, saying that wouldn't discriminate against youths and give everyone a chance to hear how the Mosquito sounds. Ward's motion lost, and he voted against the main motion.

"They (Mosquitos) are incredibly discriminatory," he said. "It just shocks me that we are assuming that the only people causing problems in our parks are under 25."

Coun. Lynn Strachan was the only other council member to oppose using the devices.

"I do not think it's right, I do not think it's fair," she said.

Nathan Rajkhowa was to make a deputation to council Monday, opposing the Mosquito's use, but could not attend due to work-related issues.

"I do, however, fell it necessary to somehow convey the dangers of this box to innocent bystanders while it is unable to prevent or deter crime," he said in a memo to the city.

Rajkhowa has said the device's discriminatory nature violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the city's noise bylaw and he has concerns that children may be at risk.

The city will buy and install as many as 10 anti-loitering devices in Barrie parks with identified issues for its safe parks and trails strategy - the first before this July 31 - as a pilot project. Its effectiveness would be reviewed six months after installation. The total cost would be no more than $30,000.

Barrie has 121 parks, so the Mosquito is just one measure to deal with unwanted loitering in city green spaces.

The design and installation of playground structures and park lighting will be reviewed to decrease loitering, and the city will work with its police department to implement a park ambassador program. Options and recommendations on paid duty policing are also to be reviewed.

Student bike patrols on the waterfront between Johnson's and Gables parks, a facility watch program and putting a graffiti link program on the city's website are other measures to control problems in city parks.

Our Mosquitos

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  • SHAUN MORRIS, Security Manager Northern Property, Yellowknife, NT

    The Mosquito works great for us, Our problem with panhandlers & homeless people hanging out has dramatically improved since we installed the mosquito.

    We left it on full time during business hours for the first few weeks and after that we were able to turn it off and just use it periodically as needed.

  • Carmen Ramirez, Park Avenue Enterprises LLC, New York, NY

    "It was amazing! Immediately the Mosquito effectively cleared out the loitering teens from the troubled area without hassle or confrontation."

  • Wade Rohloff, Graphic Safety, Hobbs, NM

    "The mosquito worked perfectly last night. I got it hooked up just in time for some kids to show up and make a lot of noise. After I turned it on they began complaining and left shortly thereafter. This thing is amazing."

  • Sarah Ward, PC 1623

    "Regarding the Mosquito apparatus that we have recently been using in our area, this is just a note to say that we have been extremely pleased with it.

    We have also had a positive reaction regarding its use from members of the public. In short, it has been an all-round success."

  • Lincolnshire Police

    "It is still presently sited at an old folks complex and is giving them a long awaited respite from ASB."

    Colin Hill PC 879
    Lincolnshire Police
    ASB Officer - South Holland District Council

  • David Meade, Millennium Place Primary Condominium, Boston, MA

    "The Mosquito has been effective. It has been implemented with other low echelon security measures and the results have been absolutely amazing. If the comparison prior to the mosquito install is made to present, we have seen a 95% to 98% decrease in activity and incidents in the stairwell."

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