A small North Island community has managed to keep its police officers.
After months of lobbying, Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen has announced that the village’s two RCMP officer postings will remain based in Port Alice.
With both officers currently ocupying those positions about to transfer out, the village council had been extremely concerned about their replacements not continuing to live and work in the community.
Allen shared the statement she received from Port Hardy Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen on the “Port Alice News and Views” Facebook group.
“The incoming members will be posted directly into Port Alice and will occupy the Force Housing that is available to them in the community. The Port Alice members will continue to be supervised from the Port Hardy Detachment and will be required to police the whole detachment area (Port Alice and Port Hardy) as necessary. As is currently the case, Port Hardy Detachment members will continue to back up the Port Alice members or respond to calls for service in Port Alice should one or both the Port Alice members be unavailable to attend”.
Allen said council has lobbied over the past year for the replacement postings to remain as “Port Alice” postings not “Port Hardy” postings.
“We have met with the RCMP at the last four Union of BC Municipality Conferences on this topic. In September 2017 at UBCM we met with Deputy Commissioner, Commanding Officer Brenda Butterworth-Carr and lobbied for the postings to remain in Port Alice,” wrote Allen, adding “We met with Chief Superintendent “E” Division, Sean Sullivan in January 2018 and lobbied for the postings to remain in Port Alice. We have met with S/Sgt. Wes Olsen on countless times on this subject and his predecessor Sgt. Gord Brownridge.”
Port Alice Health Centre’s Dr. Dana Hubler and Dr. Ian MacKenzie had also previously sent a letter to council strongly supporting the village’s request for the RCMP officers to remain posted in, living in, and working in the village.
“Without RCMP officers to respond to our calls for help in a timely fashion, we are not living in or working in a safe environment,” they wrote in a letter to council in Nov. 2017.
The Regional District of Mount Waddington’s board of directors also sent a letter of support to the Village of Port Alice in Dec. 2017 advocating that the two RCMP postings remain in the village.
Allen added that the Olsen’s statement was, “Incredible news for the Village of Port Alice…..the “squeaky wheel” was successful!”
She also noted that the village will miss departing officers Dave Cerniuk and Elijah Parish (and their families) immensely.
“They have been an incredible part of our community and we wish them continued success in their new postings.”