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  

Canada DayCity of VictoriaVicPD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sumas First Nation pilots eight-inch gill-net fishery in Sumas/Vedder River

Project in Abbotsford renews fishing practice and data gathering of chinook salmon

Chilliwack home built in 1910 will be saved from demolition

The 110-year-old house on Hope River Road is being relocated to nearby Riverside Drive

‘We just have to keep going’: Smaller weddings with bigger hearts ahead as weddings adapt to COVID-19

A struggling hospitality industry wary but hopeful of future amid industry-shaking changes

Outdoor markets not going ahead in Hope this summer

Concerns around health of vendors, lack of tourism factor into keeping markets closed this season

Hope crews quickly extinguish fire in camper van

Fire in deep cycle battery caused visible smoke and a response from Hope Fire Department Wednesday

Study suggests 8 times more people in B.C. infected with virus than confirmed

The study looked at anonymous blood samples collected for reasons unrelated to COVID-19

‘We’re not busting ghosts’: Northern B.C. paranormal investigators check out bistro

Paranormal North Coast British Columbia recently checked out PF Bistro at City Centre Mall.

Russian hackers seeking to steal COVID-19 vaccine data: intel agencies

It is believed APT29, also known as ‘the Dukes’ or ‘Cozy Bear’ was responsible

Twitter racing to unravel mystery cyberattack

Some of the world’s most prominent names had their Twitter accounts post invitations for an apparent Bitcoin scam

B.C. announces funding to support post-secondary students with disabilities

The province is investing $275,000 in the new BCcampus website

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Abbotsford woman starts petition to have B.C. government help with IVF costs

Jennifer Kuiken says cost of in vitro fertilization is too high for most people

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Most Read