Increased police presence in the downtown core, partnerships with community groups and drug awareness were the priorities town council set for Creston RCMP when Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan gave his quarterly report at the March 11 regular council meeting.
The latter point grew out of Coun. Judy Gadicke’s comment that she smells marijuana whenever she is walking around town.
“Just about every vehicle we stop, we find pot in,” said Gollan.
He said that the website webehigh.org rates Creston at 4.5 and Nelson at 5, on a scale where 1 is “very illegal” and 5 is “virtually legal”.
Gollan’s report combined the second and third quarters of the RCMP fiscal year, covering July through December.
During that time, checkstops resulted in a total of 36 charges: 14 for impaired driving, 13 90-day suspensions, three 30-day suspensions, five 24-hour suspensions and one drug charge.
Gollan also gave a brief overview of the financial difficulties the detachment faces. With a quarter of the fiscal year left, he has spent 49.52 per cent of the municipal budget from the Town of Creston, and 98 per cent of the province’s $74,300 budget.
The province currently gives the detachment only $6,000 per year to spend on gas for three vehicles, working out to about 60 cents a litre, while the town’s portion is $17,000. And when it comes to vehicle maintenance, the town’s contribution is $14,000, while the province gives $4,000.
Gollan said he is working with the RCMP’s Southeast District to address budget shortfalls or underfunding. Funding from the town is to be used for Creston-related expenses only, and cannot be used to cover shortfalls in police coverage of outlying areas.
•Council received a report from the Creston Spirit Committee regarding the 2013 Santa Claus Parade, which had 18 entries. Twenty-four volunteers staffed the day’s events leading up to and including the parade, but an extra 12 volunteers assisting with traffic control would be helpful at the 2014 parade.
Suggestions from the committee for this year’s parade included increasing daytime offerings to make it a larger event, finding a way to prevent large Christmas parties from being scheduled at the same time as the parade to avoid traffic safety concerns, having the Creston and District Community Complex expand its gingerbread decorating event and encouraging more downtown businesses to enter the parade.
•The town received a notice asking for the renewal of its Union of BC Municipalities membership for a cost of $3,551,12.
•A letter from Calgary’s Seniors Alpine Ski Club expressed its appreciation to Creston Fire Rescue, the BC Ambulance Service, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and the Creston and District Community Complex, all of which pitched in when the Brewster Travel Canada bus they were in went off the road east of Creston on Feb. 17.
Fire Chief Mike Moore drove the Thunder Cats bus to pick the seniors up and bring them back to Creston, and Brewster intends to reimburse the town for the cost of the bus that day.
“They were very impressed, and they didn’t think the municipality should have to pay for the expense,” said Mayor Ron Toyota.
•Council approved an pre-budget expenditure of up to $380,000 for an Erickson Street water main upgrade, which was identified as a capital project in the 2010 water master plan, intended to address fire flow deficiencies at the Columbia Brewery and improve hydraulics for more reliable water distribution in the south part of Creston.
If the water main is installed before the province’s 2014 resurfacing program, the province at no cost to the town will complete asphalt patching and paving.