I read with interest the comments by Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Mark Fisher in the April 19 News (Community, elder crime top of Oak Bay police agenda), and l commend him for the main focus on elder abuse.
However, regarding his long-term goal for a new building for the department, I am wondering if it is appropriate at this time to be spending resources, both human and financial, considering the issues facing Oak Bay.
The timing to consider a plan for a new facility in consideration of a new Official Community Plan may be appropriate but l would like to point out that in the coming years the taxpayers of Oak Bay will be facing significant tax and service increases to cover the costs of the new sewer disposal system, Uplands sewer separation costs, and road and sidewalk maintenance to name a few. These will be in the ten of millions of dollars.
There are huge shortfalls in the current budget for road maintenance and renewal, as well as sidewalk replacement and upgrades.
Because of budget restraints, it could take untold years to complete the sidewalk cutoffs so that seniors with mobility aids can easily negotiate sidewalks which will take unknown years to be made safe throughout Oak Bay.
Further, l believe it would be premature to consider a new police building, at a cost of millions of dollars, in the face of increased pressure for amalgamation of municipalities or merging of services.
It would be prudent to wait for the outcome of any discussions and/or decisions. Should either one of these options be considered the need for a new police facility could be in question.