The mayor of Callander, Rob Noon, says he is "shocked" by the actions of the North Bay Police Board to cut off services to his municipality.
"As Mayor, I want to express my disappointment in how the Municipality was informed by the City of North Bay’s Police Services Board of their intent to not proceed with the negotiations to renew the Police Contract," he wrote on Callander's web page.
"Over several meetings these last nine months, and we were eager to move the Municipality forward with our new 'community-focused' policing model. We have noticed a change in our policing needs in the last year, and with the casino development opening soon, Council wanted to ensure we were ready and able to adjust our policing needs accordingly."
The North Bay Police Services Board announced Tuesday it will not be renewing its policing agreement with Callander, which sits on the City's south border.
"I am dismayed that the Police Services Board indicated in their media post that the exploration of pricing from the OPP may have been their reason to cancel the negotiations," added Noon.
For the past 16 years, North Bay Police have provided Callander’s policing services, and the most recent 10-year contract expired last April.
Since expiring, service has continued on a month-to-month basis while a new contract was negotiated.
Noon is clearly upset with the decision and would have appreciated more information as to “how the decision was made, so we could have some insight into that.”
Noon explained that the municipality received the news around 9 p.m. Tuesday night, shortly after their regular council meeting. However, Noon and municipal staff did not see the message until the following morning.
“We were having great negotiations,” Noon said, referring to the ongoing discussions between the Police Services Board and the Municipality, and overall “our residents were giving us really good feedback” regarding the service provided by North Bay Police.
Noon explained the municipality was also looking into contracting services with the OPP as negotiations were underway with North Bay Police Services.
Policing is “such an expense, as a council, it’s our due diligence” to investigate options. “We have to be beholden to the taxpayer to make sure we’re getting the best bang for the dollar.”
“You have to get the service that you want for a reasonable price.”
He mentioned that over his 18 years involved with council, the municipality has “gone out twice” looking for bids from both the OPP and North Bay Police Services, “and it was always in our best interest” to go with the latter.
“We always had great service,” said Noon, “and we never had a complaint.”
Noon issued a media release yesterday which was posted to the municipality’s website mentioning “we are disappointed that we will not be able to build our relationship that we have had for over 16 years with CNB police.
“We do look forward, however, to developing a new and productive relationship with the OPP.”
Noon also assured residents that “quality policing services will continue” as council “manages the switch over to the OPP.”
Municipal staff “have already made contact” with the OPP “and are working on a plan to ensure a smooth transition.”
Although the news caught Noon by surprise, “We wish the City of North Bay’s Police Service Board the best of luck in their future endeavours,” and thanked Deputy Chief Michael Daze and Detective Sergeant Jeff Warner “for working with us these past few months” during negotiations.
“We also want to thank Chief Todd and the numerous police officers that have serviced this community in such an outstanding manner over the last 16 years.”
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca