‘No significant change’ seen at PRTC if RCMP contract isn’t renewed

Federal negotiators have pulled out of contract talks with provincial officials for RCMP police services in B.C.

But Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz says she finds it “hard to believe” the RCMP will withdraw its services.

Federal negotiators have pulled out of contract talks with provincial officials for RCMP police services in B.C.

But Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz says she finds it “hard to believe” the RCMP will withdraw its services.

“I can’t imagine the RCMP would give up the kind of resources we have given them,” she said, like the new billion-dollar headquarters for the RCMP’s E-Division now under construction in Surrey, or the RCMP’s Pacific Region Training Centre here in Chilliwack.

RCMP Insp. Ken Burton, officer in charge of support services at the PRTC, said he doesn’t expect a “significant change” at the training centre, even if the RCMP contract is not renewed.

“There will always be a need for public safety training,” he said.

“B.C. is a significant partner in the PRTC,” he said, and training would still be needed for members of a provincial police force replacing the RCMP, and for other agencies like correctional officers, border guards, conservation officers and court sheriffs.

Much of the investment in training programs at the PRTC is “provincially driven,” he said, like the PRIME (Police Records Information Management Environment) program, an initiative the legislates all police forces in B.C. to use the same system to record crime events.

“It’s not a case of the RCMP leaving and taking funding with us,” he said, and there will “always be a need for an RCMP presence in B.C.” as Canada’s national police force.

He said plans for a new $25-$35-million firing range are “moving ahead quickly” and an announcement is expected in the next couple of weeks.

“We’re finalizing the details of that,” he said.

An expanded hotel and academic facilities are also included a 25-year plan for the PRTC site located in the Canada Education Park.

Gaetz said B.C. municipalities have “no voice” in the contract talks, even though cities pay 90 per cent of RCMP costs.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender represents municipalities in negotiations, but has no vote.

“It’s a little bit frightening for local government not to have a voice,” Gaetz said, pointing out that one-third of Chilliwack’s budget goes to policing costs, and Surrey spends nearly half its budget on RCMP services.

She said B.C. negotiators want a number of concessions like restrictions on “unlimited” sick pay and the cost of training RCMP cadets.

The provincial government has reached a “tipping point,” she said, in the costs it bears for RCMP services in the smaller communities and rural areas.

Gaetz said policing costs are a major concern for municipalities the get only eight cents out of every tax dollar.

“Obviously, all of us want to see police in our communities, we all want to afford that, but there comes a time when we can’t,” she said.

Burton said part of the “magic” of the PRTC is that it provides training for a large number of agencies in one central location, instead of taxpayers’ dollars being spent on training facilities in several different locations.

“I can’t imagine (the PRTC) will not continue,” he said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read