April 15, 2021 · 0 Comments
By Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Mono has drafted a letter to Solicitor General, MPP Sylvia Jones, who represents the Dufferin–Caledon riding, protesting the newly proposed Police Services Board (PSB) changes.
Currently, each municipality hosts their own PSB, however the Province has recently announced that it intends to institute one board for each OPP Detachment, which does not sit well with local politicians. The draft letter was drawn up by Deputy Mayor John Creelman and points out that the current norms served Mono well since they first contracted with the Provincial Force, back in 1998.
The letter went on to point out that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) asserts that all municipalities should have a seat on the Detachment PSB and that the Province should stop putting appointments on Detachment PSB’s. They see no advantage to Provincially appointed members that is nof covered off by community members appointed by the municipality.
There are ample precedents for this since Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all allow this, for example. In addition, the rate at which Provincial appointees are named is problematic. Currently, 12 per cent of all appointees by the Province are vacant, including one in Melancthon which has not been filled in 3 years.
When this process started, the municipalities were promised flexibility to meet local circumstances and consultation. Neither has been provided.
The opportunity for consultation occurred during one of the worst snow storms of the winter in Orillia and only one Dufferin attendee was able to make it. A request for another opportunity has gone unanswered. As for flexibility, the current request for a position on PSB structure demands a form be filled out and submitted by one municipality on behalf of all municipalities.
The letter goes on to say that Dufferin’s needs are really two fold, in that there are two large urban components, Orangeville and Shelburne, while the rest of the County is decidedly rural. Thus, there are vastly different concern for policing. Rural communities are primarily concerned with speeding and property issues, compared to the urban component.
The letter asserts that the best option is to leave the current structure in place for the foreseeable future. Barring that, three PSB’s are recommended in municipal groups as follows, Orangeville and Shelburne, Amaranth, Grand Valley and East Garafraxa, Mono, Mulmur and Melancthon. The rationale being that the first two are urban and the rest rural communities.
As for make up, it suggests that that each municipality appoint a member of Council and a civilian and the Province appoint three, for the rural PSB’s and for the Urban ones, three councillors and a civilian from the municipalities and two Provincial appointees. This solution would reduce the number of attendances required of the Detachment Commander while preserving elected and community representation.
Mayor Ryan, who will attend a County wide Mayors meeting on this very issue, stated she would take the letter with her to that meeting, for joint consideration.
Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen