Williams Lake Community Policing Chair Baldish Singh Sunner. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake Community Policing Chair Baldish Singh Sunner. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake Community Policing request for increased funding denied

Council voted 4 to 3 in favour to keep it at $15,000 for one-year agreement

Williams Lake Community Policing (WLCP) will not be getting an increased fee-for-service agreement with the city.

The group had asked for a $21,000 annually for two years, up from the $15,000 it received in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Community policing volunteers have been lobbying the city to fill its vacant manager of community safety position left empty since the retirement of Dave Dickson.

In a vote of four in favour — Coun. Jason Ryll, Coun. Marnie Brenner, Coun. Sheila Boehm and Mayor Walt Cobb and three opposed — Coun. Craig Smith, Coun. Scott Nelson and Coun. Ivan Bonnell, council decided during the regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 26, the funding will remain at $15,000 for a one-year term, subject to WLCP submitting a business plan and providing monthly updates on its activities.

WLCP chair Baldish Singh Sunner told the Tribune Monday the group will try to provide the information council is requesting while ‘simultaneously’ urging the city to hire a replacement for Dickson who retired one year ago.

When Dickson retired, community policing lost its conduit and communication with the city, Sunner said.

Read more: Community policing asks City to fill safety manager position vacated last December

“The manager of community safety was the designate executive director of community policing and the executive director is the RCMP detachment commander,” Sunner said. “Council is not aware of how close the relationship is between the city of Williams Lake, the RCMP and community policing.”

During the committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19., the increase in funding was debated at length.

Nelson voted in favour of the $21,000 request, noting he did not want to see the program fail.

“They have done a tremendous job and there is no doubt that community policing in this community has been the backstop with thousands upon thousands of volunteer hours dedicated to ensuring this community is safe.”

Coun. Jason Ryll suggested the one-year term with the submission of a business plan and regular reporting and did not want the increase. Neither did Mayor Walt Cobb who said there were ‘too many unanswered questions.’

Brenner said while community policing is a fantastic volunteer program that often trains youth who might be interested in going into the RCMP, she wanted to see the group present regularly on its activities.

Boehm said she wanted some clarity on roles and responsibilities.

“They aren’t the police. I want their safety, I want my citizens safe.”

Reading from WLCP’s fee-for-service application, Nelson said “community safety, crime prevention and crime reduction to improve the lives of all citizens, I don’t think it gets any clearer than that.”

Williams Lake community policing fee for service by WL Tribune on Scribd

Coun. Craig Smith, who has been a member of community policing off and on, said it was ‘shameful’ that council was discussing $15,000 for an organization that’s been around and serving the community for so long.

“$15,000 is ‘squat’ compared to what the organization does,” he added, noting there are a lot of members of community policing that are ex-policing members so it’s not that there isn’t oversight on a lot of activities.”

Sunner said WLCP’s Citizens on Patrol and Restorative Justice programs are active and new volunteers are being trained for Speed Watch to run it in the spring.

In 2019, funding from the city helped cover auto expenses, citizens on patrol uniforms and miscellaneous, bank charges, office supplies, general insurance, anti-violence awareness programs, rent for the office and restorative justice training for a total of $20,361.

In July 2020, Sunner and other members of WLCP appeared before council and said they hoped Dickson’s position would be filled. At the time, council agreed to direct staff to prepare a report regarding filling the position.

Read more: Operation Red Nose volunteers encouraging residents to ‘take the reins’


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Williams Lake

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

Just Posted

School District 27 (SD27) issued notice Thursday, Feb. 25 of a COVID-19 exposure at Mountview Elementary School. (Angie Mindus photo)
School district reports positive COVID-19 case in Williams Lake elementary school

A letter went home to families of Mountview Elementary School

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City of Williams Lake seeks feedback on hosting junior hockey league team

A league expansion application in Quesnel is also pending

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

LADDER USED IN FIRE FIGHT: While smoke billows out of the second floor of the Maple Leaf Hotel, members of the Williams Lake Volunteer Fire Department fight to contain the blaze. The department was called out Tuesday morning to battle the blaze that wreaked havoc on the interior of the 57-year-old hotel. One man, Harold Hurst of Riske Creek, died in the fire. (Ernest Engemoen photo - Williams Lake Tribune, April 12, 1977)
FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Ladder used in fire fight

The department was called out Tuesday morning to battle the blaze

Provincial funding in the amount of $300,000 has been announced for the Cariboo Regional District’s plans to improve the Anahim Lake Airport runway. (CRD photo)
$300,000 provincial funding to fuel Anahim Lake Airport runway upgrade

The recovery grant is one of 38 announced to support jobs in rural communities

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

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

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read