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

VIDEO: Organization’s stolen wheelchair van recovered on backroad near Hope

Wheelchair accessible van is only transportation for some people in Hope and Fraser Canyon

Kennedy, Cartier Roads could see upgrade in Kent’s next budget

Residents living and working on Kennedy Road wrote to complain about the dust from the gravel

Police ask public’s help locating missing Hope woman

Penelope Leslie Lackey has not contacted her family since mid-June

Get a free sneak peek at modern ballet performance in Chilliwack

New ballet @giselle is putting the final touches on its show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Rescuers pluck climbers off rock face near Mt. Slesse

Chilliwack SAR team members used long-line suspension to assist climbers

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

New anti-drone tech deployed at Abbotsford Airshow

Operators could locate drones from up to 23 kilometres away

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Officials say 50 Oppenheimer Park residents have agreed to leave, as deadline looms

Residents have been told they must be gone by 6 p.m. on Aug. 21

Most Read