‘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

UPDATE: Former Chilliwack city councillor’s breach of trust case resolved using ‘alternative measures’

Charges dropped against Sam Waddington who faced two counts from 2017 related to allegations

Corn maze set to open in Chilliwack with ‘together’ as this year’s theme

New protocols include wider pathways, limited people at Chilliwack Corn Maze

Adam Smith resigns as Sardis Falcons football head coach

Sukh Parmar takes over as Smith heads back to Manitoba to take care of his ailing mother

UBC soccer star Victory Shumbusho offers one-on-one training for Chilliwack players

The Chilliwack FC grad believes players need more training to reach higher levels of soccer

Wings and Wheels fundraiser ready to roll in Abbotsford this weekend

Unique collection of cars invading Tradex for drive-thru experiences on Saturday and Sunday

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Friends do ‘amazing’ home makeover for retired police officer

Pitt Meadows RCMP veteran was away getting treatment for PTSD

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

VIDEO: B.C. community rallies to save snared eagle

Revelstoke climber scales tree to save the raptor

Most Read