Courtenay council has approved in principle a contract request from the police that includes the addition of one officer as of next April and a budget exceeding $5.5 million.
The City is responsible for 90 per cent of the budget, or more than $4.8 million — an increase of $36,880. The remaining 10 per cent is provided by the federal government.
An additional officer would increase Courtenay’s share of 2014/15 contract costs by about $120,230. The total tax increase is about .9 per cent, and would generate tax revenue of $157,110, according to a report from financial services director Tillie Manthey.
“It is doable from a financial perspective,” Manthey said at Monday’s meeting. She notes the City funds two officers from gaming revenue and two from traffic fines.
The benchmark is one officer for every 750 persons.
Statistics from 2011 indicate Courtenay’s population of slightly fewer than 25,000 was served by 30 police officers — one for every 832 persons. The provincial average was 759 persons.
The per-capita was $220, slightly more than the provincial average of $217.
The Comox Valley RCMP detachment is a combined provincial/municipal detachment operating from the Ryan Road facility. An additional police officer would increase Courtenay’s membership to 31.4.
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Council approved a motion from Ronna-Rae Leonard to apply for a B.C. Healthy Communities Grant and to request LUSH (Let Us Share the Harvest) Comox Valley to undertake the project on the City’s behalf.
The plan is to hold roundtable meetings in September to develop a complete food system.
The non-profit LUSH Valley focusses on food security, and supports projects to educate and empower people towards personal wellness, community health and environmental stewardship.
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Lewis Bartholomew, founder/director of The Alberni Project (TAP), has offered to volunteer his services to head a celebration for war veterans next June 6, marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the sinking of the HMCS Alberni.
Bartholomew asked council to designate 2014 the Year of the Veteran in the Comox Valley.
He hopes a downtown business will offer an empty storefront as a base, and to showcase the displays of TAP and Veterans Affairs Canada for the entire year.
“I think we should be receptive,” said Coun. Jon Ambler, noting 2014 also marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.