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Port Coquitlam family fined for reselling marked-up masks at park
PORT COQUITLAM -- There was a stream of people passing through a Port Coqutilam park, which Kelly Robison found peculiar since the city closed all public parks and sports fields in its fight against COVID-19.
Upon closer inspection, Robison saw that a family had set up a table and had a vehicle full of surgical masks.
“People were continuously driving up and paying ... a lot of people e-transferred them money. According to the lady I spoke to, she e-transferred them $70 for a box of masks,” Robison told CTV News Vancouver.
Robison first noticed them at McLean Park on Friday. The next day, they returned to set up shop again, she said.
“I tried to explain, you know, there's a shortage for our nurses and our health care and we really shouldn't be selling them in our park, but they were,” she said.
Robison wasn’t the only resident who noticed the operation.
Mayor Brad West said as soon as he heard from concerned residents about what was happening at McLean Park, he dispatched bylaw officers to the scene.
“I don't think I have ever, in my time as mayor, come across something so egregious, so irresponsible, so selfish and motivated by greed at a time when these supplies are needed by the health professionals who are putting themselves on the line for all of us,” West said.
He said the silver lining is bylaw officers were able to stop the family and slapped them with a $500 fine, adding RCMP have been notified.
“I think that this cries out for criminal accountability. There isn't a fine large enough, in my opinion, that would be proportionate to the egregious behavior,” he said.
The mayor said the most mind-boggling thing is to find out the family went back to the park on Saturday.
“That's the part that is just jaw-droppingly shocking about this whole thing. It wasn't enough that they did it once and got caught. They actually went back again to the exact same spot to go and do it a second time,” he said.
The family was not seen at the park for a third time on Sunday.
CTV News contacted Coquitlam RCMP to learn if charges would be recommended. Once a response has been received, this story will be updated.