Recent History – 2004-2006
February 3, 2004, By Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
The final decision to move the operation of the RCMP Dawson Creek Operational Communication Centre to Prince George raised the ire of city council on Monday morning.
“I’m ticked off about it,” said Coun. Brent Neumann in an unusually emotional speech. “We lose the jobs, the capital investment and the revenue.”
The decision to move the OCC and the city’s 9-1-1 service was finalized at a regional district board meeting last Thursday. The move means the loss of 17 jobs to the city and an estimated hit of $600,000 to $700,000 to the local economy. In previous council and regional district meetings Dahlen had expressed his disapproval of the move, however, in the end the decision was out of the city’s hands.
“It’s a done deal,” he said. “It went down in a cloud of smoke. At the end of the day we agreed to disagree. Now, we have to look forward.”
But his assurances were little consolation to members of council who were clearly upset at the way the move was carried out.
“Now we have a building that we built for them that we have to pay for,” said Neumann. “Their feet should be held to the fire for this. We need a responsive model for policing of the north east.”
According to the RCMP the move is part of a nationwide centralization process that will mean cheaper and more efficient policing. Dahlen had proposed the idea that the regional district could pick up the tab to keep the service local earlier in January. The board decided against picking up the estimated $1 million price tag.
“The opportunity was lost,” said chief administrative officer Jim Chute. “I don’t believe there is a functional way to change the decision.”
Coun. Calvin Kruk was clearly upset at the move. “I think we deserve a little more than this,” he said referring to the executive summary that the RCMP offered in explanation for the move. “It’s something that we have to fight for.”
The motion to send a letter of protest to the RCMP was brought by Coun. Alvin Stedel as a concrete way to show the city’s displeasure with the process.
“We were not involved in the process,” he said. “It was poorly done and it was poorly handled.”
Coun. Paul Gevatkoff was less willing to mount a formal complaint. “I think there has to be a realization that they did it for a reason,” he said. “I don’t see what can be realized by complaining about it.”
The motion to send a letter of complaint to the RCMP about the decision making process and the lack of city involvement was narrowly passed by a 4-3 margin. Dahlen, Gevatkoff and Coun. Powell all voted against it.