Victoria and Esquimalt mayors call for regional cost-sharing for policing

Esquimalt releases VicPD and RCMP policing proposals

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins hold a joint press conference on Friday to release details of the township's policing proposals

After months of privacy concerns, Esquimalt has finally released its policing proposals, revealing a pick-and-choose menu of options from the RCMP and a comprehensive all-in package from the Victoria Police Department.

The proposals shed light on the province’s decision in June to force Esquimalt to maintain policing services with VicPD, despite the township’s push to switch to the RCMP.

It will cost Esquimalt an average of $7.9 million each year for VicPD services, an unsustainable expense without regional or provincial support, said Mayor Barb Desjardins and Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin at a joint press conference on Friday at Esquimalt’s municipal hall.

“We host two-thirds of the population of Greater Victoria on any given day,” Fortin said.

“We have two municipalities that are paying the cost, and one force delivering the service. This financial model isn’t sustainable for the taxpayers of Victoria or Esquimalt,” he added.

The initial budget projections in the RCMP proposal – $4.7 million for 2013 – don’t tell the entire story.

They do not include “optional specific services” such as bike patrol units, victims services or the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, a key component in complex homicide and drugs investigations.

Although she wasn’t able to identify which services Esquimalt could have done without, Desjardins said switching to RCMP policing would nonetheless have saved $2 million a year.

“At the end of the day, to spin it any other way than ‘there was a significant difference in cost at an equal level of service,’ would be not accurate,” she said.

VicPD’s proposal includes the full spectrum of police services from its 243-member force, as well as dedicated officers to be stationed in the township’s aging public safety building on Park Place.

Desjardins hopes a framework agreement, spearheaded by provincial facilitator Lee Doney, will provide a chance to blend the best of both proposals for the township.

VicPD Chief Const. Jamie Graham said his department’s proposal is meant to serve as a “foundation on which a final agreement will be built.”

The framework agreement will be negotiated in the coming year, while Fortin and Desjardins continue to push the province and other municipalities on regional cost-sharing for policing.

“Everybody benefits, so everybody should share the load,” Desjardins said.

2010 cost for policing per resident:

Victoria: $433

Esquimalt: $356

Oak Bay: $241

Saanich: $214

Sidney (RCMP): $200

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Prize winning Urban Bee Honey Farm generating a buzz

Urban Bee honoured at the Vancouver Island Business Awards

African rhythms, dance performance to help out Sierra Leone charity group

Feb. 23 show by Issamba ensemble a fundraiser for Victoria-Taiama Partnership

Excitement builds for first Victoria Folk ‘N Fiddle Festival in Sidney

First headliners announced, wide range of community friendly musical, cultural events planned

Over 100 take the Vancouver Island polar plunge

More than $25,000 raised for BC Special Olympics athletes

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read