An Esquimalt councillor is following through on his election campaign promise to press municipal council into releasing details of the RCMP’s proposal to police the community.
“Public safety and security – it’s fundamental to everything we do – so if we’re going to make a significant change in how we protect people and their families and their homes, what is that?” asked Coun. Dave Hodgins. “Let’s give them details.”
The RCMP’s bid and that of the Victoria Police Department have never been publicly disclosed because of confidentiality clauses built into the paperwork, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins has long said. That didn’t sit easy with several residents, a sentiment heard on the campaign trail.
At Monday night’s special council meeting Hodgins said the public deserves to know how much it would cost for the RCMP to police Esquimalt, as well as projected capital costs, the number of Mounties needed in the township, types of programs and its proposed governance and community relations structure.
Council is expected to discuss the issue at its next meeting, on Monday (Jan. 16), said Hodgins, who requested the details be made public by March 1.
The number 1 issue the new councillor said he encountered during the November municipal election was policing “and people wanting to know, ‘Where are we at and where are we going to be?’
“And of course at that time all we could say with confidence was that there’s a recommendation to go to the RCMP,” Hodgins said. “People are wondering why.”
Meanwhile, the province has ordered a mediator to review problems plaguing the Victoria Police Board. That report is expected to be submitted to the Ministry of Solicitor General and Public Safety by the end of January.