Police presence in Chemainus in an actual building is limited to South Island Highway Patrol on Chemainus Road. (Photo by Pete Cavanaugh)

Police presence in Chemainus in an actual building is limited to South Island Highway Patrol on Chemainus Road. (Photo by Pete Cavanaugh)

Petition demands broken policing promises to Chemainus be honoured

Former detachment member leads the charge in asking municipality and RCMP to be accountable

Two decades ago, when the Chemainus RCMP detachment was absorbed into the neighbouring North Cowichan detachment, promises were made. Those promises were broken.

A former Chemainus RCMP detachment officer has started a petition calling on North Cowichan and the RCMP to honour that 1998 deal to provide 24-hour policing with two officers in the former detachment area.

Terry van Seters, who served 12 years with the detachment, was well-known around the community for his hands-on approach and frequent interaction with residents. His knowledge of the situation pertaining to policing in Chemainus and Crofton is vast and his petition garnered nearly 500 signatures in less than 24 hours since he started it Sunday.

RELATED: Victoria discusses framework for policing alternatives

RELATED: Port Alberni Indigenous Policing makes its presence known…with bagpipes

The policing issue has long drawn the ire of residents. The original pledge to maintain the two officers was made as a concession to extreme opposition to the closure.

But those levels were short-lived, van Seters pointed out, when the eight officers assigned to continue patrolling the former detachment area were continually drawn away to assist in policing the south end. As a result, the former Chemainus detachment area has become a rural patrol for the RCMP, he added, with response times to serious incidents proving woefully inadequate.

It’s a situation where he saw the writing on the wall back in 1998.

“Anybody who wanted to listen to me, I told them what was going to happen,” van Seters said. “For those two years I was still here, I was able to ensure we still had those patrols going on. I found myself, as well as the members patrolling Chemainus-Crofton, being drawn south.”

He eventually moved on to corporal with Highway Patrol on the Lower Mainland, sergeant of VIP protective services for 12 years and 4 1/2 years with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, including working from home after moving to Maple Bay 3 1/2 years ago. The Chemainus posting was always near and dear to his heart and he’s very concerned it still hasn’t been resolved to the public’s satisfaction after so long.

Seeing so many posts on Facebook motivated him to work toward that commitment from long ago being honoured.

“Criminal acts are going unreported, as residents have stopped calling the police for assistance,” van Seters noted. “The communities of Chemainus and Crofton provide a substantial tax base to the municipality, with little return. Population growth over the past 20 years has increased that tax base and the requirement for a regular police presence.”

The current police building in Chemainus has housed South Island Highway Patrol since 2000. That department will be moved into the new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP building, leaving the Chemainus office vacant.

That would make an ideal location for the officers assigned to Chemainus, he proposes.

”The former Chemainus detachment must be returned to its rightful use as a zone policing office for residents of the north end, with North Cowichan/Duncan members assigned there for periods of time sufficient to become known to the residents where they can become the trusted community members they once were.

Van Seters stressed the petition can only be signed by residents living within the North Cowichan municipal boundaries. The petition can he accessed here.

Van Seters hopes the petition can be presented at a municipal council meeting in the near future, as COVID restrictions will allow.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

municipal politicsPolice

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Groundbreaking for the new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment buiolding. From left: Staff Sgt. Chris Swain, Insp. Chris Bear, MP Alistair MacGregor, CVRD vice-chair Ian Morrison, North Cowichan Mayor Siebring, City of Duncan Mayor Staples, Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour, Const. Jen Morgan. (Photo submitted)

Groundbreaking for the new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment buiolding. From left: Staff Sgt. Chris Swain, Insp. Chris Bear, MP Alistair MacGregor, CVRD vice-chair Ian Morrison, North Cowichan Mayor Siebring, City of Duncan Mayor Staples, Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour, Const. Jen Morgan. (Photo submitted)

This building in downtown Chemainus formerly housed the Chemainus RCMP detachment before it became the home for the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre. (Photo courtesy Art Carlyle)

This building in downtown Chemainus formerly housed the Chemainus RCMP detachment before it became the home for the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre. (Photo courtesy Art Carlyle)

Newspaper article from the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle in 1998 about the policing situation in Chemainus. (File)

Newspaper article from the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle in 1998 about the policing situation in Chemainus. (File)

A newspaper article from the Cowichan Valley Citizen in 1998 about the policing situation in Chemainus. (File)

A newspaper article from the Cowichan Valley Citizen in 1998 about the policing situation in Chemainus. (File)

Just Posted

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Valley woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

First in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Comox woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Most categories of crime held steady from year to year in Cumberland. File photo
Cumberland crime numbers hold steady year to year

A few categories had notable changes but many were similar to 2019

The colourful Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly has been reintroduced on Hornby Island, BC. Photo courtesy the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project.
Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project releases more caterpillars on Hornby Island

Chris Junck Special to Black Press The number of Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies… Continue reading

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

Thw male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Valen a student of Coldstream Elementary writes advice for adults amid a pandemic.
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Elementary students share their wisdom to adults in unprecedented times

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Most Read