The City of Pitt Meadows is holding off on signing a new RCMP contract until more details are available.
B.C. cities are under pressure to sign the document, which renews the Mounties for another 20 years. They have been given a one-month deadline extension, until May 31, to make up their minds.
Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters, though, is quick to clarify that the delay does not mean the city is unhappy with the RCMP.
“We have a very unique relationship with our RCMP in Ridge Meadows,” said Walters.
“We emphasized that to the RCMP, but we would like to have some of the answers. We are not doing due diligence if we sign off and don’t have all the information. We owe that to our citizens.”
While Surrey – the biggest detachment in Canada – has already signed, many other municipalities held off after it was revealed newly approved pay hikes for Mounties go beyond what the federal government had forewarned cities about last year.
There are also concerns about more than the pay hikes, which give the RCMP an extra 5.25 per cent over three years.
One issue involves an interpretation document that is to accompany the actual contract and would guide how it is interpreted.
Other concerns include severance pay requirements for cities and who is bearing the capital costs of the RCMP’s new E Division headquarters at Green Timbers in Surrey.
“There are a lot of other companion documents,” said Walters, noting that council has yet to see them.
“We don’t know what the cost implications will be on individual municipalities. I think it is really important that we stay somewhat united on this until we have all the information.”
As of May 2 – 32 of 62 municipalities who use the RCMP services in B.C. have approved the contract. Maple Ridge was one of the first to ratify the new deal.
– with files from Jeff Nagel