Victoria City Council has approved spending $135,000 from their contingency budget to cover additional costs of policing for Canada Day and other military events in 2019.
Earlier this week, finance chairman of the Victoria and Esquimalt police board Sean Powell wrote a letter to council expressing that the department can no longer cover unfunded expenditures during Canada Day celebrations in the city.
Several councillors were upset that the request had been sent to them just 25 days before the Canada Day celebrations, and that they were expected to make the decision in a short amount of time.
The timing weighed particularly heavy for councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe who is one of the organizers of the Canada Day event in the capital city.
And councillor Ben Isitt moved to explore whether policing costs for military events like Remembrance Day could be covered by DND (Department of National Defence) and Veteran’s Affairs Canada officials.
From the start, Mayor Lisa Helps spoke in support of providing the additional requested funds out of their contingency budget, and then discussing special events funding for 2020 at a later date.
“We’re the capital city and being a capital city comes responsibilities. I think there are costs that are born because we’re the capital, as well as benefits,” said Helps, when others raised the question of whether or not other municipalities in the CRD were contributing to the policing costs of Canada Day and military events.
An amendment by councillor Loveday seeks to secure support from other municipalities and police boards in the CRD for large events in the future.
For the time being, however, Canada Day 2019 festivities will go ahead as planned.