Local leaders rally against proposed relocation of RCMP OCC to Dartmouth

Local municipal leaders are requesting that the process of relocating the RCMP Operational Communications Centre (OCC) to Dartmouth be suspended until an independent review, announced last month, is complete.

Truro Mayor Bill Mills, Colchester County Mayor Christine Blair, Stewiacke Mayor Wendy Robinson, and Millbrook First Nation Chief Bob Gloade held a press conference in Truro Town Council Chambers on Wednesday morning.

They all say the security risks along with the impact of moving 60 staff from Truro were not considered as part of the evaluation criteria and that their concerns were not taken seriously.

Chief Gloade spoke to the "alarming concern" all four leaders have about this move, which could put all Nova Scotians at risk should the RCMP consolidate all of their emergency communications in one location.

Numerous reports recommend geographic separation between centres so one would still be up and running should a disaster strike the other.

The latest report on the move dated August 31, 2017 recommends the move from Truro to Dartmouth, but the municipal leaders say it contains "serious errors and incorrect information" and "presents a very bias approach in favour of the relocation".

Blair says the RCMP, as recently as the "H" Division Change of Command ceremony in Halifax on May 23rd, talk about building relationship in community and with municipalities, but a lack of meaningful consultations about this move undermines any attempt by the RCMP to do so.

Mills says the RCMP started talking in 2016 about their half-empty building in Dartmouth and moving the OCC, but he got the feeling this was all but a done deal despite a lack of consultation.

He adds that the RCMP have also said they had trouble staffing the OCC, but they didn't see any notices to that effect and weren't informed so they couldn't help.

Robinson says Stewiacke CAO Dale Bogle had a long career in the RCMP and is also very concerned about this move.

All four signed a copy of the release, which will be sent to RCMP leadership as well as provincial and federal politicians.

They also provided a letter to the media which was sent to Nova Scotia Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter, dated April 30th, where an offer was made to move the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), which functions as 911 answering centre, to the Truro Police Building.

Truro CAO Mike Dolter says the building could actually house the entire OCC, but the Emergency Management Office oversees the 911 system so the provincial minister was contacted to see if the town could at least retain the PSAP if the RCMP moves forward with the Dartmouth relocation in February, 2021.

In response, Porter said "the results of the RCMP examination will be considered", but no firm commitment was made.