‘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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack celebrates Chinese New Year at Sardis Library

Members of Vancouver’s Xinru Centre taught folks history of Chinese New Year, knot tying, calligraphy

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Jan. 20 to 26

Minus two-degree weather a warm welcome following cold snap in Chilliwack

People flocked to the hills Saturday, sleds in hand, to take in some snowy fun in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Highway 1 to look like winter war zone until owners retrieve wrecked vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

Charity Clothes2U ready to hand out free items to people in need in Chilliwack

The Clothes2U Winter Giveaway event will be in Chilliwack at Cooke’s Presbyterian Church

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

VIDEO: SPCA and RCMP remove several animals, including pig, at private animal rescue in Langley

Home at 5500 block of 216th Street has undergone multiple seizures over the past five years

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Most Read