VicPd can't afford the cost of policing Victoria on CanadaDay
Victoria Police say they can't afford the policing costs associated with Canada Day celebrations this year.
The shortfall is about $78-thousand dollars, and, witrh less than a month to go before the popular event, a letter has been sent to council letting them know of the issue.
Chief Constable Del Manak says in past years VicPd was able to find the money in other line items in the budget, but because of the cuts they've had to deal with the department just doesn't have that option this year.
On Thursday city council will discuss whether to use contingency funds to cover the cost. And one councillor, who also helps organize the event, says she hopes they do:
"In many ways this event is at risk in future years if this isn't covered by some part of the city's budget."
Charlayne Thorton-Joe says other options being discussed are problematic.
" You know it's upsetting to me when it comes to, as an organizer of an event, and this is the largest free event I think on the south island I am told, where we get anywhere from 40 to 75,000 people throughout the day."
Councillor Ben Isitt has suggested limiting the event, perhaps by restricting people to just the Legislature area on Canada Day. But Thornton-Joe says that's impractical:
" To keep that amount of people in a more condensed area, it just can't be done. And I think there was comments, you know, can we fence it, can we gate it, can we charge? We take pride that this is a free event. And the scope of it, although a lot of the focus is on the Leg lawns, people are throughout the downtown, especially during the fireworks time."
Thornton-Joe adds policing an event that large requires a certain number of officers, some from other municipalities, who are brought in on overtime.
Victoria police say budget cuts have left them $78,400 short of funds needed to cover the costs of policing this year’s Canada Day celebrations
Charlayne Thornton-Joe, City of Victoria Councillor - The average cost of policing Canada Day is $122,000, of which the city contributes $12,000. Victoria and Esquimalt provide additional funding for special duties, of which $31,000 goes to Canada Day. That leaves the Victoria Police Department responsible to cover $78,400 a year in unfunded expenditures