Kimberley RCMP contract renewal approved by council
By Nowell Berg
On June 14, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick. Coun. Jason McBain was not in person but participated through a telephone connection.
The press and public were not allowed in Council Chambers.
The meeting streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel. Watch the archive here.
Food Recovery Program
The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) funds helped kick start the program that recovers edible food from city businesses and turns it into prepared meals for those faced with food insecurity.
The City of Kimberley acts to administer the UBCM funds. From May 2020 to May 2021, 5,549 meal servings and 2,500 snacks were produced because of their involvement. Over the past year, the total meals prepared through the program were 13,815 along with 6,240 snacks and 351 pounds of granola and croutons.
COVID-19 emergency response funds allowed the program to grow “faster and produced way more meals,” said Duncan. The addition of professional cooks facilitated production cooking allowing the program to prepare more meals than initially anticipated. This led to a “great impact” by increasing the number of local agencies receiving the prepared meals which go to seniors, children and schools.
Coun. McBain asked Duncan “Where is the greatest need right now?”
She replied, “It is incredible how much schools deal with food security.” McBain agreed, saying, “So many kids go to school hungry.”
Responding to Coun. Oakley’s question about at-risk food security populations, Duncan pointed to “vulnerable family households” with small children as a hard-hit group.
She said the program will continue to “directly address food security” and help address local families need to feed themselves.
Aquatic Centre Re-Open
Depending on BC Provincial Health Officer’s final orders, the city is targeting July 6 to re-open the Aquatic Centre. “We’re really excited to get back into the water,” said Duncan.
Duncan noted there would be new protocols inside the pool, as well as, an online registration system to gain access. The facility will follow all “safety guidelines as they relate to covid and aquatics.”
Only 40 patrons will be allowed inside the pool along with 10 staff.
Coun. Dalum said, “Your recommendation [to re-open] makes you the most popular person in town right now.”
The city will be providing residents with information on the new pool regulations and procedures. These opening guidelines will be re-evaluated in early September when it is expected the province will move into Step 4 of the Restart Plan.
RCMP Contract Renewal
Council approved the $1 million dollar policing contract with the RCMP. CAO Sommerville said regarding the contract, “It’s pretty much business as usual. With a town our size we get eight service members. Because Kimberley citizens are so well behaved and our crime rates are lower than the provincial average, we manage that contract to keep seven members going at any given time.”
Coun. Dalum noted the policing budget was one he hoped would “never go down.”
In a letter from the RCMP, the city was informed of its “potential liability for retroactive pay, [which] could be $244,000 if the eventual new pay package” is approved. The last RCMP salary agreement expired on December 31, 2016.
Mayor McCormick noted the city has a reserve fund, currently $377,464, that would be used to “cover back pay.”
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. Due to pandemic restrictions, the public is not allowed to attend Council Chambers.
The next scheduled council meeting: June 28. It live streams on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel.
Lead image. Kimberley RCMP rolls through the downtown. e-KNOW file photo