Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula engaged in a telling discussion about policing contracts with Justice Minister/Attorney General Suzanne Anton last week at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler.
“What we’re trying to do is have some sort of consensus on what a basic population-to-police-officer ratio should be. There’s such a disparity in this province,” Jangula said. “The Comox Valley is unusual. It certainly has a trickle down effect on taxes.”
He said the average homeowner in Courtenay pays $191 for policing, Comox residents pay $91 and rural homeowners about $55, based on a house worth $350,000 to $355,000.
Jangula also discussed the proposed Braidwood supportive housing project with Housing Minister/Deputy Premier Rich Coleman and Health Minister Terry Lake, the former about construction and operation, the latter about potential funding.
“Their instructions are to keep moving on it and move it forward,” Jangula said. “We do have the $50,000 grant, and we’re using that. We need to move forward on this and have it ready. We’re going to call for proposals. I feel strongly it’s something we need to do in this community.”
Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird commended Lake and fellow Cabinet ministers Steve Thomson (forests) and Mary Polak (environment), and Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, for listening and asking questions at their meetings.
She said a panel on strong communities attracted a variety of ministers, and different levels of government and mental health officials.
“What we’re looking at is providing health care services in Cumberland,” Baird said. “We are fitting into what the panel is seeing in the future. It will be much easier to have these services delivered in Cumberland, and that’s where we’re headed.”
Jangula notes there was near consensus on the downloading or closing of mental health facilities such as Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam.
“All communities in the province are experiencing quite a bit higher costs of policing and related services,” he said.
A resolution to ask the Province to reconsider opening a state-of-the-art type of mental health facility passed.