Village of Pemberton (VOP) council learned more about the Sea to Sky RCMP's priorities during its Oct. 22 regular council meeting.
Insp. Kara Triance, officer in charge of the Sea to Sky RCMP Detachment, presented the Sea to Sky Regional Police Services 2019-20 Strategic Report Framework to council, before taking questions from councillors.
The priorities for the detachment break down into four pillars: crime reduction; road safety; community outreach, engagement with Indigenous groups; and professional development for RCMP officers.
During her presentation, Triance explained that she is leading the professional development pillar.
The detachment is currently working on a plan to have Pemberton officers receive avalanche and crevasse training, she said.
The detachment is also focused on promoting mental health initiatives.
"We've done a lot of work to focus on the mental health of our employees," said Triance.
"As you have probably seen in the media ... this is an increasingly problematic issue for police."
A healthy interior life is key to a long career, she said. "We're starting to talk about [mental health] now and address this head-on and look at it as a health issue within policing, making sure that our police officers are healthy and are able to come to work [and sustain a] 30-year police career without burnout and without the risk of suicide or any of other off-duty issues we might run into."
During the question-and-answer period, VOP Mayor Mike Richman commended the Pemberton RCMP detachment for its work, but also commented that he hasn't seen much in the way of foot patrols in the downtown core.
Councillor Leah Noble agreed that it is something she would like to see more of, adding that it was much more common in the past.
Cpl. Mike Hamilton of the Pemberton RCMP agreed to increase the presence of foot patrols, while also noting that the amount of paperwork officers must complete has increased significantly in recent years.
The change has altered the dynamic of policing, he explained.
During her presentation, Triance mentioned that the Pemberton RCMP is high on the province's list for a new RCMP building, saying that she anticipates a replacement to come within five to 10 years. Coun. Ted Craddock picked up on this, asking if there may be a possibility to integrate a new RCMP detachment with a new municipal building (something the VOP has been eying) or a fire hall.
Triance appeared open to the idea. "We can certainly ask those questions," she said.
After a brief discussion, VOP council also made a resolution to instruct staff to reach out the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and ask it to review the speed limit between Mount Currie and the Pemberton Plateau. The windy stretch of highway has been a lightning rod for public debate after two separate collisions that killed three bear cubs in total took place recently.
(To read more about the first incident, see "Pemberton council considers asking for a speed reduction along Highway 99"; July 6.)
Richman said he has heard from residents both for and against a reduction. Both Coun. Noble and Coun. Amica Antonelli came out in favour of reducing the speed limit from 80 km/h to 60 km/h, saying that the current situation is dangerous.
(The windy part has a suggested speed limit of 60 km/hr.) Craddock, however, raised concerns about the VOP asking for a reduction to 60 km/h, saying it doesn't have the expertise to do so.
The MOTI recently did a review of the area that endorsed the current speed limit, he added.
"I think we have to be a little bit careful here," said Craddock.
"I don't think that any reason has come up—apart from people wanting to see it slower—to make that recommendation. So I wouldn't support reducing the speed. It's a fair speed."
In the end, Coun. Ryan Zant put forward the motion to have the province review the speed.
The motion didn't explicitly call for a reduction in speed, but does ask VOP staff to forward on the concerns of the public to MOTI.
Aggressive dog policy amendment
VOP council passed an amendment to its policy around dogs that are given an "aggressive dog" designation by the municipality.
The changes include a new definition for a dog that is deemed to be an "aggressive dog" and lays out steps that a dog owner must follow if their dog is given such a designation.
According to the VOP staff report, the current animal control bylaw allows for restrictions to be "imposed at the discretion of the Bylaw Enforcement officer."
That, it goes on to say, can lead to "inconsistencies in an aggressive dog designation and could be challenged."
The new aggressive dog definition follows: "Aggressive Dog means a dog that, being over 4 months, and on one or more occasions: (a) has without justifiable provocation displayed aggressive behaviour towards a person or domestic animal; and (b) has without justifiable provocation caused a minor injury to a person or domestic animal."
Mayor Richman said that the aggressive dog designation is an important tool VOP bylaw department, as it can be used in cases that are less serious than those that call for a "dangerous dog" designations.
Dangerous dog designations can end up going through the court process and be drawn out, he explained.
"Having an aggressive bylaw designation will allow bylaw to have a little more leeway to manage some aggressive dog behaviour without necessarily taking it to the level of dangerous dog designation and everything that triggers," he said.
Other changes include a new clause that will allow the VOP to cost recover all impound fees should they be incurred by a dangerous dog that is subject to a destruction order.
To see a full list of the changes, you can find the agenda package here: www.pemberton.ca/public/download/files/100221.