Blue Line

Peabody says he’s not giving up on proposal for two police boards

September 1, 2023  By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Sep. 1, 2023, Brockton, Ont. – Mayor Chris Peabody said in an interview prior to the Aug. 29 council meeting that he won’t give up on effort to get better representation on the local police services board.

A report on the Aug. 29 council agenda stated the province is moving ahead with its plan for a single police services board for the South Bruce Ontario Provincial Police coverage area.

Brockton had asked for two boards, one for the lakeshore consisting of Kincardine and Huron-Kinloss, and an interior board with Brockton, South Bruce and Arran-Elderslie. This would give Brockton a greater say in board matters than the five-municipality one.

The report stated the five-municipality board will have five municipal representatives from the communities served, two community representatives and two provincial appointees. “This could mean Brockton, which pays the most, might have only one representative on the board.”

Brockton had attempted to get a delegation with Ontario’s solicitor-general during the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference, where the municipality would have put forward its case for two boards, but was unsuccessful. “That usually means no,” said the mayor. He added that he’s not taking no for an answer. He said he plans to keep trying.

Peabody said that 20 years ago, he’d voted against “going OPP” from a municipal police service with Hanover. “People didn’t want to be policed from Hanover,” he said. “They’ve been policed from Kincardine or Orillia – for a while, now.”

He mentioned that Bruce County does have a municipal police service – in Saugeen Shores.

Peabody said he plans to make another try for a delegation with the solicitor-general at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference five months from now.

At the very least, he said it’s essential to propose a good Brockton candidate for one of those two community representative seats. He said there’s a real danger that the board could be “dominated with representatives from the coast,” while Brockton continues to pay the largest share of the cost of policing. “I’m very leery of the whole setup,” he said.

Also on the agenda of the Aug. 29 council meeting was a report on the business viability committee regarding the Durham Street bridge project.

Peabody said the committee is what was promised during the public meeting earlier this year. However, he said it “might be a bit premature.” If the county decides to put in a temporary bailey bridge close to the present bridge over the Saugeen River, the negative impact on the downtown business community won’t be as great and there may not be a need for a liaison committee.

– The Walkerton Herald Times

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