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Looming RCMP cost hike concerns some members of Parksville council

‘Clock is ticking toward that 15,000 mark’
The Oceanside RCMP detachment located at 421 Pym Street in Parksville. (PQB News file photo)

Parksville’s population is approaching a number that will see RCMP costs increase dramatically and city council hopes to soften the financial impact.

The RCMP cost-sharing agreement means once Parksville reaches the 15,000 population threshold, the city’s share jumps from 70 per cent to 90 per cent, with the remainder covered by the federal government.

“We have been hearing from the police chief and we are cognizant as we grow as a city, that we are reaching that threshold of 15,000,” said Coun. Amit Gaur, during council’s June 5 regular meeting. “And how exponentially the cost will increase for a small community like ours.”

Parksville’s population was tallied at 13,642 in the 2021 census.

Gaur would like to see council put forth a resolution, to both the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Union of B.C. Municipalities, that additional population tiers should be designed to create a smoother transition in financial responsibility, considering factors such as municipal population growth rates, fiscal capacity and the specific needs of communities.

Gaur added creating a municipal police force would be even more expensive than absorbing the increased RCMP cost sharing.

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“Anything we can do to speak to senior levels of government and say, ‘hey we have this issue that we’d like you to listen to’, I think that’s a big part of our job here,” said Coun. Sean Wood.

Coun. Adam Fras said it would also be worth looking at nearby regional district area costs.

“It’s a very small portion and they hold quite a large population that leans on our police services,” Fras said.

“On top of which, when there are calls to rural areas, it’s pretty demanding as far as time goes.”

Gaur said he agrees the RDN does not contribute its share to policing costs, but felt it would be better to keep the resolution specific and discuss regional district police costs another time.

“The clock is ticking toward that 15,000 mark,” he said. “Let’s be proactive and have something like this in place.”

Gaur’s motion was carried unanimously.

The UBCM convention takes place Sept. 18 to Sept. 22 in Vancouver.

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Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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