Note to Esquimalt council: There’s no shame in licking your wounds, putting your head down and moving forward with the issue of figuring out how to best police the township.
News that Esquimalt was investigating its legal options against the province, in the wake of B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond’s decision to go against the recommendations of a local police advisory panel and stick with the Victoria Police Department, was a head-scratcher.
Esquimalt taxpayers are not going to have an appetite for their municipality spending potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees fighting the province just to make a point.
The point is, Bond used information from the advisory panel, as well as the third-party mediator, in making her decision to have VicPD continue as the service provider for Esquimalt.
Fighting the province on what amounts to a matter of process is a losing battle that the municipality can scarcely afford to wage.
Releasing details of contract proposals made by VicPD and the RCMP for policing Esquimalt, a move suggested by Mayor Barbara Desjardins last week, isn’t going to help either.
As with a lawsuit, such a move seems aimed at proving the province doesn’t know what’s best for the township.
But at the end of the day, the provincial government makes the rules that govern municipalities and Esquimalt knew going in that the advisory panel’s recommendations weren’t binding.
One has to wonder just how far Esquimalt council will go to prove they had it right, rather than moving forward and trying to make the best out of an imperfect situation. Rather than dwelling on correcting a perceived slight, they need to refocus on the reasons the township started looking elsewhere for policing in the first place.
Yes, VicPD hasn’t done the best job it could for Esquimalt. But now’s the time to use the extra resources promised by the province and hammer out, at the board and street policing level, a better and more equitable way of getting the job done.