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Mayors at odds over splitting Langley RCMP

Dispute over confidential report, funding
Langley Township Mayor Eric Woodward (left) and Langley City Mayor Nathan Pachal (right) are at odds over a Township push to de-integrate the RCMP detachment that serves both communities. (Langley Advance Times files)

A battle over splitting policing in Langley City and Township became a dispute over a confidential RCMP report on de-integration this week, with the two municipalities at odds over its findings.

While the RCMP report doesn’t take sides, the City released an assessment on Monday, June 3, that said the review, by the RCMP B.C. headquarters at “E” Division, supports their position against a split because it shows the move would increase inefficiency and hike costs for taxpayers in both municipalities.

In response, the Township released the full report to the Langley Advance Times, which said on the second page that it was “for internal use only by the Township of Langley and the City of Langley and was not intended as a public document in its entirety.”

READ ALSO: Splitting Langley RCMP would increase taxpayer costs, inefficiency: City report

About the same time, the Township revealed it had threatened to sue the City for failing to pay its share of policing costs, and the City then hand-delivered a cheque, blaming the the Township for the delay in payment because it was refusing to renew an expired joint policing agreement.

In separate interviews with the Langley Advance Times, Township Mayor Eric Woodward and City Mayor Nathan Pachal were far apart on the question of de-integration, with Woodward saying it would go forward with or without the City’s co-operation, while Pachal said the final decision was up to the provincial government, not the Township.

Woodward said the City doesn’t have a say in the matter.

“The decision has been made, this is not up for debate,” Woodward declared.

“This is not up for the City of Langley to say which option they want. It’s not up to them.”

Pachal called that “completely erroneous.”

“It is a joint agreement. The city has a voice and the Township has a voice,” said Pachal, who pointed to the battle over policing in Surrey, where the province overruled a council attempt to cancel a switch from the RCMP to a municipal force.

“You can’t force the Surrey RCMP to stay [and] you can’t force the Langley RCMP to de-integrate,” Pachal said.

“We know they [the province] had the final say in Surrey.”

Woodward said his “understanding is the minister is not able to deny us that [de-integration], the way the law currently says. They’re not [going to be] imposing anything on us like they are on the City of Surrey. We’re looking to have our own RCMP detachment for residents and taxpayers of the Township, and we’re entitled to that.”

READ ALSO: Langley Township threatens to sue City over RCMP costs

As for the dispute over the cheque, a City payment was drawn up on May 9, but wasn’t delivered right away because, Pachal said, the deal with the Township had expired in 2022, and the the City was pressing for at least a temporary renewal.

Pachal said the Township has refused multiple requests to sit down and discuss the matter, commenting, “I believe we were essentially ghosted.”

Woodward said the city was being “disingenuous.”

“They literally sent us a letter saying they would not pay us unless we renewed the agreement under the old terms.”

Concerning the internal E Division report, Woodward said he took the “drastic step” of releasing the full RCMP documment because the City statement about the review was “attempting to create a narrative that the RCMP don’t support the transition, when in fact the RCMP are neutral in this process.”

“The way it was presented in the City of Langley press release was deeply offensive and frustrating to me,which led me to the conclusion that I had to provide you with the facts,” Woodward said.

According to Woodward, the report shows the split will have the biggest financial impact on the City.

“It’s going to cost the City of Langley a significant amount of money,and it’s of no concern to me that they’re not a viable municipality financially,” Woodward said.

Pachal called the report ”somewhat confidential” and expressed surprise the Township had released the entire document.

“I wouldn’t,” Pachal said.

Pachal expressed hope the two municipalities can still work things out.

“We’re neighbours and I hope we will be friends in the future,” Pachal said.

READ ALSO: By the numbers: How do Langley City, Township stack up on shared policing?

Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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