Councillors voted to provide funding for policing for Canada Day, with several caveats attached (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria to fund policing for special events like Canada Day – for now

Police department had said there was not enough funding in its recently approved budget

Victoria council tentatively agreed to provide funding for the Victoria Police Department for the coverage of special events.

The decision came after the VicPD told the city there was not enough funding in its recently-approved budget for the police force to absorb the costs, as it had done before.

In a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, council voted to allocate up to $135,300 from the 2019 contingency to fund security expenses for Canada Day, non-profit community events and military events such as Remembrance Day. These funds come with the caveat that a more detailed report of how the funds were calculated and how they would be used be presented at council on June 13, when final approval could be issued.

READ MORE: Victoria Police Department requests cash to cover Canada Day

While the funding would not go directly to police, it would be indirectly assigned to them for security by way of the Festival Investments Grant (FIG) committee.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she’d put forward the motion allocating the funds to the discretion of the special events team “for those people who don’t like to fund police.”

This distinction was called on as “problematic” by Coun. Sarah Potts.

“The question about police budgeting was not about not funding policing because we don’t like police, “Potts said. “It’s been about looking at our community and looking at ways we can better serve our community through a variety of actions.”

POLL: Should the City of Victoria cut back on Canada Day celebrations?

Helps later apologized for the wording.

Several additional amendments were added to the funding proposal, including a motion put forward by Coun. Ben Isitt to ask the Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) for recovery costs for military events in the city, which would include the Victoria Day Parade and Remembrance Day.

“I think it’s worth trying to recover those costs; those entities have substantially better resources,” Isitt said. “The DND has a budget of $20 billion… I think the responsibility for military commemoration and honouring veterans is more properly the responsibility of those federal agencies.”

Isitt’s suggestion happened to fall on the 75th-Anniversary of D-Day, something which sparked outrage online.

The backlash later prompted Isitt to pen a scornful letter on medium.com which called the coverage of the event a meaningless distraction from the alt-right.

“More unfortunate, however, is the nefarious ways in which conservative political forces and their agents in the corporate media have chosen to distort Victoria City Council’s benign request for assistance from federal authorities, into a supposed affront to war veterans,” Isitt wrote.

ALSO READ: Six new police officers add $300,000 to Victoria’s 2019 budget

Council also voted on an ammendment to have Helps reach out to other municipalities for support with police services for regional celebrations.

Currently, Saanich contributes six officers to Canada Day and Oak Bay and Central Saanich each contribute one officer. Saanich and Esquimalt each also supply a nominal payment of $1000 and $500 respectively to go towards the Canada Day production budget, which totals around $200,000.

Council will also direct staff to consider alternative community safety models at special events, when appropriate.

“We’re the capital city and being the capital city comes with responsibility,” Helps said. I thing there are costs that are born because we are the capital city and there are benefits because we’re the capital city.”

Clarification as to how how these funds will be used and allocated in the future are set to come to light at next week’s committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, June 13.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Homelessness Action Week a call for citizens to see the issue in a new light

Homelessness Action Week Oct. 13-19 includes coffee talk, facility tours, film screening

Nanaimo Clippers thankful after three straight wins on road trip

City’s junior A hockey club wins seventh in a row, trades alternate captain

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Empower court system, RCMP to curb crime

Justice system gives free rides to repeat offenders, says letter writer

Nanaimo Ladysmith school district deciding how best to provide menstrual products for students

Early cost estimates tag $75,000 for product dispensers; trustees seek student consultation

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Section of Island Highway north of Nanaimo isn’t safe

I hope politicians will do something about this issue, says letter writer

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates compare, contrast platforms on debate stage

Energy policy, veterans’ affairs and more debated Thursday at Beban Park

City council mulls emergency medical responder training for firefighters

Council directs staff to prepare report on firefighter medical training upgrades

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Most Read