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‘Ridiculous’: Penticton councillors slam province over public safety costs

‘The province is not upholding its duty, particularly when it comes to public safety’: Councillor
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(Western News file photo)

Penticton city councillors took aim at the B.C. government Tuesday, May 21, over what they believe are excessive local costs for public safety as a result of provincial downloading.

Councillors Amelia Boultbee and Ryan Graham presented a notice of motion directing staff to quantify the public safety costs including for ambulance, police, fire, and bylaw, as a result of provincial downloading.

The duo’s motion was unanimously approved.

“It’s become very clear that whether you’re a rural community, a big community like Vancouver, or a small Interior community, the provincial download is getting ridiculous,” Graham said, adding that according to the city’s budget, Penticton currently spends $500,000 a year to maintain its public washrooms.

Boultbee and Graham’s motion asks staff to deliver its report within eight weeks.

“The province is not upholding its duty, particularly when it comes to public safety, and the City of Penticton is having to pick up that cost on a continuing basis,” Boultbee said.

“We see this in the millions of dollars we spend, particularly in bylaw which is essentially making up for the fact that we still don’t have enough police officers.”

Anthony Haddad, city manager, said the heads of various safety departments will work closely together over the next two months to get “a true sense of what the costs are,” as a result of provincial downloading.

Boultbee said she wants the city to forward the report to the B.C. government when it is completed, which is expected to be by the time council meets on July 16.

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