B.C.’s new Independent Investigations Office will bear the cost of looking into incidents involving the RCMP — a cost that up until now has been borne by the affected municipality.
Kamloops Coun. Nancy Bepple said she sat in on a session by the office’s new director, Richard Rosenthal, at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria Tuesday.
Rosenthal told the audience of municipal politicians that in the past, individual cities have absorbed the cost of investigations into incidents involving police harming or killing civilians.
In Kamloops, for instance, the city would have taken on the expense of bringing in RCMP from Calgary who looked into the July 30, 2010, shooting of Wilbert Bartley by an officer.
“Going forward, we may want to look at whether there are any cost savings we can get out of it,” she said.
“Up until Sept. 10 when this office opened, if there were police resources that had to be brought in to investigate, we would be paying for those costs.
“The independent office is provincial in jurisdiction. So municipalities aren’t going to absorbing those costs.”
Beyond the money savings, Coun. Donovan Cavers felt the RCMP will benefit from a civilian-based group having the authority to watch the police.
“It’ll just be good for the entire province, in terms of police oversight and faith in the RCMP,” he said.
City community and corporate affairs director Len Hrycan said 90 per cent of the price tag for the new investigative office is still being carried by local governments, but in a different format that’s not entirely known yet.
“The global costs across the province will be picked up by the all the local governments,” he said.
“We don’t as of yet know the implications of those costs will be and whether they will be done on a per capita basis or per member basis. The RCMP were to do some further follow ups on that.”
In the Bartley case, the expense of bringing investigators in from Calgary RCMP were rolled in with local RCMP administrative costs, so he didn’t have a break-down on the final amount the City paid.
That is changing, but Hrycan said the formula hasn’t been released yet.
“We still haven’t seen the final framework for how this is going to work,” he said.
“It’s still too early.”
Kamloops Coun. Marg Spina was acknowledged at the UBCM Tuesday for completing a municipal official course.
Coun. Nancy Bepple put the word out about Spina’s certification on Twitter during a break from a day full of sessions Tuesday.
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The reinstatement of the PST in B.C. is one that probably won’t make the film industry happy.
Mayor Peter Milobar met with the B.C. Minister of Culture, Sport and Community Development Bill Bennett Tuesday and the switch over from the HST to the PST was one of the items on the agenda.
Specifically, Milobar wanted to know if the tax exemption offered the film industry under the HST would carry over to the PST. He was asking on behalf of the TNRD Film Commission.
Unfortunately, the news was not good, he said.
“The province is implementing PST under old existing conditions. That’s something we’ll have to work on long term,” the Kamloops mayor said.
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Coun. Pat Wallace is missing her first UBCM convention in years, but she’s still being thought of at the AGM in Victoria.
Wallace, who was honoured as a lifetime member of UBCM in 2002/03, was acknowledged for serving for 25 years as an elected official.
Wallace is by far the longest-serving member of Kamloops City council and she often provides a historic perspective when issues repeat themselves.
She gave the UBCM a miss this year to visit with family instead.
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You can take the bureaucrat out of the environmental regulations, but you can’t take the environmental regulations out of the bureaucrat.
Coun. Ken Christian, who was Interior Health’s top environmental health guru until he retired last spring, is at his first full Union of B.C. Municipalities convention as a City councillor.
So what sessions did he sign up for?
Well, in addition to the new delegates orientation and the big urban communities forum, he included a session on small water systems on his schedule.
Considering he used to deal with small water systems throughout the Southern Interior, he was sticking pretty close to what he knows.
Christian’s health bent is also influencing the resolutions agenda. He put forward a resolution, backed by Kamloops council, calling for a ban on smoking in sports fields and some other shared outdoors areas.