Five thousand is five thousand is five thousand.

For the Town of Osoyoos, having a population of more than 5,000 means a whopping $577,000 increase in its policing bill, the community recently learning its appeal of a 2016 census that pegged the community’s population at 5,085 people had proven unsuccessful.

Town CAO Barry Romanko broke the news this afternoon.

“Although we were successful in dropping the amount of our population, it was an insufficient amount to move us below the 5,000 threshold,” he told Council.

Mr. Romanko then dropped the other shoe: delivering an RCMP contract that pushes the Town’s annual policing costs to $953,000 from $376,000.

The contract requires the Town to pay for five RCMP officers, with the Province picking up the tab for a further three members.

Next year, the Town’s costs will increase even more, with the addition of a ninth member to the detachment.

B.C. law requires communities of 5,000 or more people to provide for their own law enforcement. Communities can do that by:

  • Forming their own police department;
  • Contracting with an existing police department;
  • Contracting with the provincial government for RCMP police services, with the Town paying 70 percent of costs and the province picking up the remaining 30 percent.

Mr. Romanko said the change does have several benefits: increased control of police priorities and development and an additional member working in the community.

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