|Delivering more information for the public from our
emergency service providers
is a theme that Council should work to expand on
as they begin their final year in office
prior to the November Municipal election
A number of high profile files on the crime sheet in Prince Rupert this month might give some momentum for a frequent, but so far still not acted upon recommendation to City Council from Councillor Barry Cunningham.
It was one year ago that Councillor Cunningham had suggested to his council counterparts that there was a need for City Council to deliver more information to the public, recommending that Council make use of their public forum to invite such representatives as the Fire Chief, City Department heads and the Inspector in Charge for the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment to provide reports to Council and answer any questions that Council members may have.
With little in the way of progress for his plan through the first half of last year, he reinforced that suggestion for Council in May, once again recommending that the detachment head of the RCMP and the Fire Chief be invited to Council to provide for regular updates
Council started to follow through on that proposal last year, with an appearance from the head of the Prince Rupert detachment in August, as Inspector Blake Ward provided a glimpse into policing in the community. It was an opportunity for Council members to explore many themes of concern, but on that nigh that had few questions to ask when it came to policing in the community.
That August visit however would seem to have been a one time appearance to this point, with no return engagement booked as of yet by the Council members.
Since the Inspectors review for Council, there have been a number of incidents that have caught the attention of the public, ranging from the ongoing concerns about pedestrian safety in the downtown core area, to vandalism and commercial break ins.
Social media posts in a number of local forums also offer up a look at some of the concerns from residents of the community, with a number offering up their thoughts on personal safety in some areas of the city, with a number of items making note of concerns about the city's downtown area.
Even City Hall made it onto the incident list, with the City taking actions to limit access to the City Hall building after some still undisclosed threats to staff were made in the fall. The City has yet to fully explain the nature of those threats, or why they took the steps to change their policy on access to City Hall and municipal officials.
In November Prince Rupert got a bit of national attention, as the city found itself making the Maclean's list of dangerous cities, with a 28th place ranking out of the 229 cities that the national magazine examined data on.
Earlier this month the Mayor through a Facebook post, expressed his disappointment at the news of the vandalism at Mariner's Park and of an early January break in and theft of items from the Kaien Anti Poverty Society offices on McKay Street.
However, despite what was a rather short first City Council session to start the year, other than a brief update by the Mayor on meetings between city staff and the Ministry of Transportation on the pedestrian concerns, Council members made no mention of any other incidents as part of the January 15th meeting.
|Northwest communities such as Terrace and Kitimat feature regular
updates from their local RCMP detachment at public council sessions
(recent briefing for council in Kitimat)
Council may wish to follow the lead of other Northwest communities which make reports from the RCMP and Fire departments a part of their regular Council process. With communities such as Kitimat and Terrace providing the forum for those reports on a frequent basis.
Those frequent appearances make for an opportunity for Council members to ask questions on behalf of the city's residents about concerns that they may have, as well as to ask the RCMP or Fire Departments if there is anything that the City can do to help make their work in the community easier.
An example as to how that process works in other communities can be found from our item of December on a recent Council session in Kitimat.
Mr. Cunningham has laid the groundwork for that kind of engagement in the past, and even with what is a reduced Council schedule for 2018, it's up to the rest of council to pick up on that theme of community information sharing and take action on it this year.
You can find more items of interest on City Council Discussion themes from our archive page here.
For a look at some of the work of emergency service providers in the Northwest see our archive here.