Creston RCMP may ask town council for extra office help

Web Lead

  • Mar. 3, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Paperwork, not crime, is Creston RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan’s biggest headache these days, he told Creston town council at the Feb. 24 regular meeting.

Gollan was making his quarterly appearance to present council with an update on RCMP policing in the Creston Valley. A new provincial policy that requires all police interviews with suspects and witnesses to be transcribed is overwhelming his current staffing contingent, he said.

Gollan said that less than 20 per cent of interviews were transcribed before a policy change last year. The new requirement takes up the time of at least one full-time clerical staff, he said. In addition, a new scheduling system has proved to be so time-consuming that it is being done by police officers and not clerks.

“I will be coming to you at our fiscal year end with a proposal to add an office support staff position so that we can handle the workload,” Gollan said.

After the meeting he said that it is possible to contract out transcription production to firms with security clearance, an option that council could consider.

Among other spending priorities, some of which can be handled within his present budget, are replacement of badly discoloured carpet in the police station and the acquisition of a thermal imaging device that could be shared with Creston Fire Rescue, he said.

Mayor Ron Toyota said later that with the number of calls for police service holding steady or declining in recent years, the town could lobby the provincial government to reduce the number of police officers to offset the cost of additional office support staff.

 

Council Briefs

•Bylaws to define shipping containers and to allow the town to issue temporary use permits for businesses were adopted.

•Valley Community Services requested that council reconsider its policy to consider permissive tax exemption applications only every three years. Executive director Serena Naeve said that municipal taxes ($5,600 last year, prior to extensive renovations) on the organization’s new premises on Pine Street would be better spent on providing services to its clients.

•Engineering manager Colin Farynowski reported that work on the realignment of the Pine Street-Northwest Boulevard intersection, a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure project, is on track for spring construction.

•Preliminary work to prepare for an updated Official Community Plan is underway, and an advisory committee will soon be named, along with its terms of reference.

•The closing of town hall on Dec. 21, 22 and 23 was approved.

•An exception to the policy that bans the use of alcohol on town-owned properties will be made for the building beside the fire hall, where the fire department’s work experience crew is housed.

•A letter requesting support for a demand for a review of the Site C dam project was received for information.

•A request from the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society was referred to committee so the Lower Kootenay Band can be consulted.

•At the recommendation of Coun. Kevin Boehmer, the issue of funding future annual Family Day celebrations (this year’s successful Children’s Winter Festival was held at the Lower Kootenay Band’s hall) was referred to the Creston Valley Services Committee, with the LKB invited to participate in discussions.

•A request from the Creston Community Band for funding to assist with storage costs for music and equipment was received.

•An amendment was passed to the cemetery policy, clarifying that the costs of a burial being incorrectly placed in the cemetery will be borne by the town.

•Coun. Jen Comer informed council that Volunteer Appreciation Day will be held on April 11.

•The meeting concluded with each staff member giving a brief report on what they are working on, a process designed to give council some insight on the inner workings of town hall.