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Williams Lake RCMP host community safety meeting

At city hall on April 18, many aspects of community safety covered with RCMP leadership

Williams Lake RCMP leadership invited some community leaders, community service providers, and other stakeholders to talk public safety on April 18.

The meeting was held at Williams Lake city hall in council chambers.

Inspector Robert Lake, detachment commander for the Williams Lake RCMP, welcomed everyone and said while he knows it can be a constant coming and going within the RCMP detachment, he wanted to provide an opportunity for the people dealing with community safety to connect and for RCMP to get to know everyone’s priorities.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the support and engagement of everybody in this room,” said Lake.

RCMP leadership said the initiative was meant to engage with the greater community in preparing for their annual performance review.

They also said the gathering could assist in building networks between partner agencies.

WLFN Kukpi7 Willie Sellars, Xatsull (Soda Creek) First Nation Kukpi7 Rhonda Phillips, and Stswecem’c Xget’tem (Dog Creek/Canoe Creek) First Nation Marilyn Camille, and city of Williams Lake Mayor Surinderpal Rathor all attended.

Sellars, in particular, brought up the challenging relationship between his community and the RCMP.

“We’ve had to put our history aside with the RCMP and look at how we can continue to build that relationship with them,” he said.

“There’s a lot of trauma there that we’ve had to unpack during this whole experience, we’ve had our issues and our conflicts with the RCMP in the past.”

Sellars said the WLFN bylaw enforcement has provided a buffer for the community to the RCMP, but not all communities have the luxury their community does to be able to afford this option.

He said all communities are grappling with issues around drugs and alcohol, and it doesn’t address the issue to simply move people out of community.

Kukpi7 Camille also spoke, and she mentioned how she wouldn’t have wanted to attend the meeting until having gone to a recent city council meeting about the proposed homeless shelter at the Elks Hall, where she heard so many strong advocates speak.

“It now feels like we have the support to deal with the trauma of our community members,” she said.

Topics raised included homelessness, addictions, new parole programs, mental health supports, and much more.

Besides community leaders and RCMP, there were representatives from the Conservation Officers Service, Cariboo-Chilcotin Foundry, Emergency Health Services, Community Policing and Citizens on Patrol, the Williams Lake Fire Department, Cariboo Regional District, Denisiqi, BGC Williams Lake, Denisiqi, Canadian Mental Health Association, and others.

“The gathering went very well and we were pleased with the presence and all of the valuable information shared by so many important community stakeholders and partners,” said Inspector Lake after the event.

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

After moving back to Williams Lake, where I was born and graduated from school, I joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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