Skip to content

North Thompson mayors meet with RCMP officials

North Thompson mayors meet with RCMP officials

The two North Thompson Valley mayors for Barriere and Clearwater met with BC Highway Patrol (BCHP) head brass and Kamloops RCMP to discuss concerns once again about enforcement and retaining BCHP members at the Clearwater Detachment.

On the topic of the Highway 5 corridor and the ongoing need for enforcement, Barriere mayor Ward Stamer shared the results of a recent meeting that took place with BC Highway Patrol (BCHP) management and Clearwater mayor, Merlin Blackwell. Stamer said they met with BCHP chief superintendent Holly Turton, BCHP Staff Sgt. Bryan Fedirchuk, NCO for Kamloops, and inspector Rob Nason, an officer in charge of Central Highway Patrol. “We talked about the issue of enforcement and the official line is there have been no decisions made yet about adding or taking away enforcement at this time.”

There is currently a new initiative between BCHP and CVSE (Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement) to partner more often for vehicle enforcement and inspections, which Stamer noted has already been seen along the highway corridor in the North Thompson.

In a follow-up about this meeting with BCHP, mayor Merlin Blackwell said, “The BCHP, RCMP meeting lasted over an hour with mayor Stamer and myself. We got a very extensive explanation of how the BCHP works and the challenges they face in recruiting enough staff. It was very clearly stated to me that no decision had been made to centralize operations to Kamloops as Minister Farnworth had commented to us a few months ago. When I asked what the issue was recruiting officers specifically to Clearwater to fill the current vacant positions here and what incentives the RCMP could offer to attract officers to smaller towns, the response was the same as we get from other government organizations, like BC Wildfire: workers aren’t interested in moving to small towns.”

Blackwell went on to say that when he fact-checked with workers in those organizations, he often found out that is not the case and that in reality “workers do want to come to small towns like ours.”

“It’s not always about the workers, it’s about management in these organizations wanting to have the few staff they have in the locations they feel are the most efficient for their operational requirements. Unfortunately, these organizations want to belittle small towns and our fantastic rural lifestyle when the reality is they just want to keep employees close to larger centres because they feel it’s easier to manage them if everyone is in the same location,” he said.

Blackwell feels there is still the possibility in his mind even though the decision to move BCHP out of the North Thompson isn’t in the plans now, he could “easily see it coming back to the table once we get past the provincial election.”

About the Author: Hettie Buck

Read more