Mayor of Coaldale says town is overcharged for RCMP services

The current RCMP contract with Coaldale was signed in 2016, when the NEG was applied.

Van Rijn, however, says Coaldale should not be considered a new entrant as they had already been checked by the RCMP.

Coaldale Town Manager Kalen Hastings visited the Galt Museum & Archives and found evidence that although Coaldale did not have a full-time police officer or detachment of its own until in 1954, the RCMP was called upon regularly between 1915 and 1954.

Van Rijn says RCMP headquarters officials in Alberta agree with the city’s position given the historical context, but not the national agency.

In 2015, before signing the current RCMP contract, Hastings and then-mayor Kim Craig traveled to Ottawa to discuss the proposed deal. Van Rijn says staffers told them at the time that the city would qualify for the 70-30 payout structure. Since the Liberals came to power in the 2015 federal election, Van Rijn says the federal government has changed its position and hasn’t wanted to budge.

Considering how much money Coaldale is paying for the RCMP, the mayor believes changing the NEG condition is vitally important going forward.

“For a community of just under 9,000 people, $500,000 a year is the equivalent of a 7% tax hike,” says Van Rijn. “With this $500,000, we have residents who need a new pool, we need a second patch of ice, and we have roads to fix, sidewalks to build. It is therefore a considerable sum of money. »

Van Rijn recently took the matter to MP Grant Hunter for Cardston-Taber-Warner. Hunter spoke with Justice Minister Tyler Shandro at the Alberta Legislative Assembly.

Shandro has accepted the claim that the Town of Coaldale is being treated unfairly with respect to RCMP costs and has announced plans to address this.

“I intend, with and through the advocacy of the MP, to plan to raise this matter with Canada’s Minister of Public Safety to urge the Federal Government to reverse this unjust policy and how it is attributed to the City of Coaldale,” says Shandro.

Van Rijn says it means a lot to him and to the whole community to see this kind of support from provincial government officials.

“We very much appreciate that our local MP has stepped in to give us a hand in trying to resolve this issue, and the fact that he has contacted the Minister of Justice and our Solicitor General, we are able to organize a meeting within four or five days to start this process, to solve this problem, ”adds Van Rijn.

Shandro and Hunter also spoke of their belief that Coaldale would be best served by the proposed Alberta Provincial Police Service. Van Rijn agreed with his provincial counterparts.

“Personally, I think the provincial government would do a much better job for us,” says Van Rijn. “It’s so frustrating that we can’t get our federal counterparts to work with our municipality to get it rectified. The fact that the province is willing to step in and try to resolve this issue speaks volumes to me about their care and concern for their municipalities.

Town of Coaldale officials will endeavor to submit documents to the Alberta Department of Justice. There is currently no timeline on when the municipality could get a decision from the federal government on the NEG condition.

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