Sidney is getting a break on its RCMP contract, but faces rising capital projects around the building itself. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney is getting a break on its RCMP contract, but faces rising capital projects around the building itself. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney faces rising capital costs around RCMP building

Town staff expect RCMP model to remain ‘cost effective’ option

Sidney is getting some relief on its policing costs in one area, but faces additional expenses elsewhere.

Sidney’s draft budget calls for a $29,000 increase to the municipality’s contract with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Sidney shares a detachment with North Saanich, one of several cost-shared services with neighbouring municipalities.

Andrew Hicik, Sidney’s director of corporate services and chief financial officer, said this change is smaller than the municipality’s annual average increase for that item.

“We tend to see savings in the RCMP contract each year, due to transfers, reassignments and other temporary absences,” he said. “A level of anticipated savings is built into the budget to account for this. That is why the increase is so modest this year.”

Concerning the RCMP at large, Sidney also faces rising personnel costs for computer services for total increase of $53,500, a total increase of 2.2 per cent compared to last year.

But if Sidney is getting a break on personnel, the municipality faces additional expenses when it comes to the building out of which the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP operates.

Sidney’s draft financial plan anticipates what it calls a “number of capital projects over the next five years” that concern the maintenance and security of the station. “The building is now 20 years old, and requires some attention,” it reads. “The [detachment] also underwent a security audit last year, leading to a long list of suggested improvements that are still being costed and prioritized.”

RELATED: Budget discussions in full swing across Saanich Peninsula

For example, the 2020 budget calls for $350,000 toward roof replacement, $50,000 for heating, $30,000 for window replacements, $20,000 for renovations to the cell block and interview room and $20,000 for garage doors. Looking ahead, capital projects related to the RCMP building in Sidney include $30,000 for internal door security and $15,000 for improved outdoor security (both tentatively scheduled for 2021), $50,000 for interior painting and $15,000 for kitchen upgrades (tentatively scheduled for 2022) and a total of $150,000 for miscellaneous security upgrades (tentatively starting in 2022 and running until 2024).

When asked about some of these items, like the entrance door, garage doors and cells and interview room renovations, Hicik pointed to a number of technical issues, as required by current RCMP standards. For example, renovations to cell block and interview room must include CCTV recording equipment in addition to other required physical improvements. He wouldn’t get into specifics “as these projects are taking place for the benefit of a secure facility.”

He added that these figures only represent estimates at this point, developed with assistance from Sidney’s public works staff based on the best available information. “If the work comes in under budget, the savings will accrue to [Sidney] and our RCMP funding partners, North Saanich and the [provincial government].”

Communities with populations between 5,000 and 15,000 cover 70 per cent of an officers’s cost if they contract policing through the RCMP. The provincial and federal government jointly cover the remaining 30 per cent. Notwithstanding this subsidy, the cost per officer has now reached $128,650, a figure that also includes vehicles and all other necessary equipment.

Looking ahead, Hicik said the RCMP model gives Sidney a better deal, despite the high costs.

“The long term outlook for policing costs is continuing increases, but we fully anticipate that the RCMP contract model will remain more cost effective than a municipal police force,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

Saanich police are asking for the public’s help locating missing woman Christina Olsen, 41, who was last seen on May 15 in the 4500-block of Blenkinsop Road. (Photo via the Saanich Police Department)
MISSING: Police seek woman last seen at Saanich mental health facility

Christina Olsen, 41, left Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility on May 15

Plans to restore the ecology of Sidney Island include the eradication of fallow deer first introduced in the early 1900s. (Parks Canada/Submitted)
Parks Canada proposal calls for eradication of fallow deer on Sidney Island

Proposed eradication part of a larger plan to restore local ecology but obstacles remain ahead

A dramatic four-vehicle crash at the intersection of Government and Herald streets brings standstill in downtown Victoria on May 18. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
UPDATE: Downtown Victoria intersection reopens after 4 car crash injures passengers, slowed traffic

Traffic impacted after crash closes Government and Herald streets

Ryan Cootes, Erin Bremner-Mitchell, Bill Collins and Mike Williamson of Cascadia Seaweed Corporation are here seen holding up seaweed grown in Barkley Sound in July 2020. The Sidney-based company has organized the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival running May 17 to May 23. (Cascadia Seaweed Corporation/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

A game camera near the Klahoose reservation on Cortes Island caught this glimpse of a truck leaving the woodlot at around 2:30 on Sunday morning. Photo supplied by Klahoose First Nation
Indigenous cutblock vandalised on Cortes Island, anti-logging element suspected

Ribbons pulled down, gravel poured into gas tank at Klahoose First Nation site

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory. (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Most Read