Posted by: Editor | April 17, 2011

Cop Shock

Cop Shock

– Saanich rebuffs Esquimalt’s advances in seeking a policing contract

By Tim Morrison 

Esquimalt and Victoria Police Department are struggling with their 8-year relationship. The two appear to be suffering from irreconcilable differences, particularly when it comes to money. Esquimalt has spent most of the past year contemplating what it wants and who they want to do it with.

In March, Esquimalt issued a formal request for proposals on a new policing model. The three suitors that served as the object of our affections include Saanich Police and West Shore RCMP, along with a willingness to provide VicPD a second chance at rekindling the romance.  June is the target date to select the winning bid.

Meanwhile, there were certainly positive signs that Saanich could be the one to rescue us from all our grievances with VicPD. Some would even say that Saanich has been quite flirtatious in sending certain signals to Esquimalt in what was thought to be a budding courtship where two very compatible, community-based police needs could be united as one.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard rebuffs Esquimalt's advances.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard rebuffs Esquimalts advances.

And, then the shock! Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard announced last week that the passion just wasn’t there. The relationship wasn’t made to be. He was breaking up with us before we even had a chance at a first date, let alone getting all the way to first base. Saanich will not be bidding on the contract.

So, what do we do now? Do we go crawling back to VicPD and ask for forgiveness? But, that’s not so easy. Most of our grievances are quite justified, especially when it comes to money.

VicPD is asking our already cash-strapped community to pay an additional half-a-million dollars more towards the VicPD’s overall 2011 budget increase of $2.2 million. That would bring the total VicPD budget to $42.1 million, most of which goes towards the high demand on resources for Victoria’s downtown core. Certainly, the Capital Regional District’s main law enforcement challenges are concentrated in downtown Victoria, yet only Victoria and Esquimalt are responsible for funding the area’s policing while all other municipalities contribute nothing.

By comparison, Esquimalt’s total policing bill of $6.3 million works out to be more than the combined amount that Langford and Colwood pay for policing while the combined populations of those two municipalities is twice that of Esquimalt. The unfairness to Esquimalt taxpayers is completely unacceptable.

In response, Esquimalt Council recently reaffirmed that it refuses to pay the full demanded amount. Like any relationship, money makes things complicated. Esquimalt asserts that it should actually be paying $234,000 less for policing.  

Hence, all eyes are now on West Shore RCMP. Will there be a love connection? Not to seem too desperate for love, but we now need it more than ever. West Shore RCMP, by the way, is who provides Langford and Colwood their policing at much cheaper costs than what Esquimalt is expected to pay the Victoria Police Department.

Sometimes you have to fish around before you find lasting love. For Esquimalt, could those fish be in a West Shore pond?

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Responses

  1. The Money ….

    I would like to comment on to 2 of the key services that Victoria provides for much of Greater Victoria. These are the homelessness services and the late night clubs. Much of Greater Victoria benefits from these 2 services not being in their backyard, BUT the same Greater Victoria appears to be unwilling to share in the costs of the policing required to support these services.

    If downtown Victoria stopped providing the services for our homeless and significantly surcharged late night businesses, the end result could be significantly more homeless moving into surrounding neighborhoods and more late night businesses in our communities.

    Why don’t we just buck up and pay for these police heated services? Because we don’t have to and it is not our problem. We’ll actually it is our problem, and the greater Victoria communities should pay a minimal surcharge on their municipal taxes to cover this.

    Or soon, we may have more of these issues in our neighborhoods. if I had a choice of where to ask for money, it might be downtown Oak Bay, Cadboro Bay village, or Saanich Tuscany Village. Go where the money is!!!! If the services were not downtown.

    So why not pitch in and help out …

  2. My wife and I who live in Esquimalt were leaving the Mocha House in James Bay at the same time as 2 VPD offficers. One said to the other, “Looks like sooner or later, we will have to look after Esquimalt again.” To which the second officer replied, “Hope it’s later rather than sooner.” Hopefully this attitude is not shared shared by all VPD staff – especially senior officers.


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