C.O.W. okays increase in special events budget for policing costs
Victoria's Committee of the Whole considered 2 options for covering the costs of Canada Day celebrations, as policing costs have almost doubled since 2010. The city took over responsibility for planning the event in 2006.
Staff recommended increasing the special operations budget by $107,000 to maintain the current approach -- and to ensure policing charges previously covered through the Police Budget are covered.
A second option involved reducing the scope of the event, limiting it to daytime-only to cut policing costs. But staff noted that would only cut costs marginally, and sponsors -- which help pay the majority of costs -- could be lost.
Councillor Ben Isitt argued for option 2, arguing that limiting the event to daytime would reduce the attraction for young people, many from other municipalities, causing issues during the evening:
"Causing a huge amount of disorder, and under the cover essentially, of an event that a huge amount of energy and resources have gone into, using it to basically just be disorderly in the streets, and imposing massive policing obligations on the citizens of Victoria in the process."
But the rest of council favoured Option 1, recommended by Staff. Including Councillor Shamarke Dobow, a Somali immigrant, who shared how much Canada Day means to him:
" I have never looked forward to July 1st, although July 1st is the Independence day of Somalia, with so much anticipation. Not only because it was Canada Day, it meant so much for me on July 1st 2017, because I became a Canadian citizen."
The budget hike passed, with only 1 opposed, Ben Isitt.