June 3, 2019 7:59 pm
Updated: June 7, 2019 4:58 am

Victoria could cut back Canada Day celebration due to policing costs

WATCH: Victoria's Canada Day celebrations could be scaled back because of a shortfall in funding for policing costs. Kylie Stanton has the details.

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The Victoria Police Department says the city of Victoria needs to allot some extra money for policing if they want to keep the current Canada Day party.

The force said Monday they are $78,400 short of what is needed to cover the costs of policing this year’s celebrations.

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“There has to be recognition that there are security costs and policing costs — not just what you see front and centre, but also a lot of work goes in to making sure that the actual venue and the event and those coming down are kept safe throughout the event,” Victoria Police Chief Dal Manak said.
The financial chairman of the Victoria and Esquimalt police board, Sean Powell, wrote city council a letter May 22 saying the department could no longer absorb the current costs.
The average cost for policing Canada Day in the capital has been roughly $122,000 per year since 2011, Powell wrote, adding the city pays about $12,000 of that.

Manak says there isn’t room for the force to absorb things like overtime, supplies and logistics.

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One option is for the city to allot additional funds to cover the gap, but Coun. Ben Isitt is suggesting reducing the size of the party and confining the celebration to just the B.C. legislature grounds and nearby streets.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe, one of the main organizers of the event, said scaling it back would be a logistical nightmare, adding there’s no way of knowing how many people will attend.

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“We’ve streamlined it and talked to police over the past 19 years and we do what we can to limit the amount of police, but this is the 21st century,” Thornton-Joe said.

“I think either we need to bring back the budget for the police, or more importantly in their contingency we need to look at funding the police for all the events we have.”

The city has concluded that it would cost more to cancel the Canada Day event now than it would to fund the police cost overruns.

The decision will go in front of Victoria city council Thursday.

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