PORT ALICE—Once again, the Village of Port Alice is facing the loss of its RCMP detachment. And once again, it is objecting to the proposed relocation of its officers to the Port Hardy detachment.
Municipal Council has asked Assistant Deputy Minister and Director of Police Services Clayton Pecknold to intervene in a plan to remove RCMP from Port Alice in 2014.
“Despite repeated requests to keep our RCMP officers residing in Port Alice, we have been informed that our current officers will be relocated and not replaced,” says Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen. “We have not had adequate response from senior levels of Island District RCMP management and feel that the concerns of our community are not being heard.”
Beginning in 2009, the previous mayor made it clear in a letter to Chief Superintendent Randy Wilson, that Port Alice is opposed to removing its RCMP detachment. Similar letters followed in 2011 with support from MLA Clair Trevena, and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Shirley Bond.
Mayor Jan Allen and Councillor Jan MacLeod met with Staff Sgt. Andrew Isles and Port Hardy’s Sgt. Gord Brownridge on Nov. 21, 2013. At this meeting Sgt. Isles informed the mayor that Port Alice’s two police postings and a part-time administrative support person would be reassigned to Port Hardy. This was not welcome news.
“Our policing services are of the utmost importance to the safety and well-being of the community and must be retained,” says Allen, and cites the following reasons to keep RCMP residing in Port Alice:
• To address ongoing violent crime, drug abuse and traffic concerns;
• A minimum 40-minute response time from Port Hardy;
• A 400-member heavy industrial workforce employed by Neucel on a 24/7 basis, increasing the Village population by 200-300 commuters daily;
• The need for immediate back-up for our ambulance, fire and port security officers;
• Risk of losing resident doctor and the Port Alice Health Clinic if police services are withdrawn;
• The presence of a busy international deep-water port;
• The need for timely emergency response services to Alice Lake, Victoria Lake and the West Coast, which are busy forest industry areas and are also heavily used for recreation activities.