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Sidney still waiting on official word on 911 cost downloading

8 affected Vancouver Island communities would have faced significant tax increases
Sidney has yet to receive official confirmation that senior spheres of government have agreed to pick up 911 dispatching costs. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sidney is still waiting for official confirmation that the province has deferred downloading the costs related to police dispatching.

A provincial official earlier this spring told North Cowichan that senior spheres have found funding for RCMP E-Comm 911 dispatch. E-Comm 911 is a multi-municipality agency that provides emergency communications operations for British Columbia, including Sidney and North Saanich. They along with six other communities on southern Vancouver Island had previously received notice that they would have to absorb 100 per cent of the costs for RCMP E-Comm 911 dispatch calls under an arranged phase-in.

The province currently covers 70 per cent of these costs with the federal government covering 30 per cent. According to information shared with North Cowichan, senior spheres of government will continue to cover these costs until March 31, 2025.

Sidney’s chief administrative officer Randy Humble said the municipality has had conversations with the provincial government about the importance of ensuring costs related to RCMP emergency dispatch are rolled out gradually and fairly across B.C.

RELATED: Sidney, North Saanich join call for province to delay downloading of 911 dispatching costs

“We have not received official notification that these downloaded costs have been deferred but we are optimistic that a more equitable approach will be taken so that Sidney’s taxpayers are not unduly impacted by this change,” he said.

Humble noted Sidney’s most recent financial plan included the anticipated impacts of these downloaded costs starting in 2023. “Once we receive official confirmation that the costs will be deferred, the change will be reflected in the next iteration of the financial plan.”

Black Press Media also reached out to North Saanich for comment.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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