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Esquimalt ordered to pay its share of 2022 police budget increase

The previous Esquimalt council voted against the VicPD budget increase in March

By Shannon Waters
October 20, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Esquimalt ordered to pay its share of 2022 police budget increase

The previous Esquimalt council voted against the VicPD budget increase in March

By Shannon Waters
Oct 20, 2022
Photo: Ryan Hook / Capital Daily
Photo: Ryan Hook / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Esquimalt ordered to pay its share of 2022 police budget increase

The previous Esquimalt council voted against the VicPD budget increase in March

By Shannon Waters
October 20, 2022
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Esquimalt ordered to pay its share of 2022 police budget increase
Photo: Ryan Hook / Capital Daily

Esquimalt’s council will need to revisit the police budget when it returns to chambers next month following a ruling from the BC director of police services that the township must pay its share of the Victoria Police Department’s 2022 budget increase.

The previous council voted against the increased budget, which funds 10 new full-time positions on the police force and covers requested extra hours for the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team and the Public Safety Unit. While Victoria’s council approved its share of the $1.3-million increase, Equimalt voted against coughing up an extra $183,523.

VicPD requested a review of the decision in April—the third time BC’s director of police services has been asked to weigh in on a VicPD budget dispute for the department over the past four years.

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In its submission to provincial director of police services Wayne Rideout, Esquimalt argued that, while additional officers may be needed, “the majority of demand for these resources is in Victoria and not in Esquimalt.”

“We felt that our community should not bear that burden to help support downtown Victoria policing,” Barb Desjardin, Esquimalt’s re-elected mayor, told Capital Daily. “In the last number of years, there have been concerns raised by Esquimalt at different times and by Victoria at different times.”

Settling the budget is “never an easy process,” according to Desjardins, who has co-chaired the Victoria Police Board for more than a decade.

“This comes down to the challenge of having two very different communities with two very different levels of crime amalgamated,” she said.

In August, Esquimalt council voted unanimously not to renew the framework agreement that governs shared policing services with Victoria. The township is now in the process of engaging a consultant to provide options for other policing possibilities and come up with a plan to transition away from the jointly funded Victoria Police Department. A request for proposals for the role closed earlier this week.

“This is comprehensive work,” Desjardins said. “Those consultants, whoever they are, will be hitting the ground running and they won't stop until they provide us with a report because our timeline is fairly short to get so much detail.”

Esquimalt has until December 2023—when the framework agreement is set to expire—to deliver its report on policing alternatives to the province. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has agreed to consider the township’s request to be released from the agreement, provided there is “a detailed plan” for a new policing model and transition process.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Shannon Waters
Municipal affairs reporter

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