By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
The comment of Nelson’s mayor that the Province should tread carefully and wisely through the RCMP contract renegotiation process was echoed by the former BC solicitor general earlier this week.
Both Mayor John Dooley last week and Kash Heed on Tuesday agreed the Province needs to be very involved in the current police services contract negotiation between the RCMP and the provincial government. The two sides are negotiating a new 20-year agreement before the current one expires in 2012.
Heed said he was worried the Province would “rubber-stamp” the new contract with the RCMP, and miss a chance to make the force more accountable.
Dooley said the possible changes the RCMP are planning will even affect the City of Nelson, even though they have their own municipal police force.
He pointed to the situation in Summerland where a small community was required to provide a police station for the RCMP. Once a community hits a population of 5,000, it is responsible for 70 per cent of its policing costs and 100 per cent of the costs of providing a police station.
Summerland residents resoundingly voted to approve the money needed for a new RCMP detachment to be built in the community of 10,800 Tuesday.
The proposed RCMP facility, which is estimated to cost $5 million, would also involve borrowing up to $3.125 million. The current building failed to meet modern policing needs and in 2005 the cells were condemned and prisoners taken to cells in Penticton.
It was also determined needed repairs were worth more than costs of a new facility.
“And if you look at the age of the stations in places like Kalso or Salmo, as an example, they will be in similar situations,” said Dooley. “Those costs will be riding on the coattails of this regional district (of Central Kootenay). I think it will be very important for us to be keeping an eye on those contract negotiations.”