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police force

Whistler is going to have to decide whether it wants to keep the RCMP, create a municipal police force or find some other type of law enforcement. A task force has been struck to look at the options — including whether the bylaw department can be incorporated into some form of police force — because the municipality will almost certainly have to start paying for law enforcement by April 1997. According to an agreement between the province and municipalities the province will pay for RCMP services until a municipality reaches a population of 5,000, according to a federal census. Whistler’s official population was about 4,500 at the last census and is now closer to 6,800, according to a municipal census. A federal census will be done next May and the results will be available by January 1997. Among the options the task force will look at are: contracting the RCMP to continue servicing Whistler; creating a municipal police force; and creating a combined Fire and Police Department as Esquimalt has done. If the RCMP option is chosen the primary contractual issue will likely be staffing, as police service is generally a flat amount per member. Mayor Ted Nebbeling says last year’s Oppal Report on police and bylaw services will be part of the evaluation process. He adds Whistler’s bylaw department will also be examined to see if it can play a role. "Cost will likely be a big determining factor," in the final decision, Nebbeling said. Public meetings will be held following a report to council next fall. The municipality hopes to have completed the evaluation process by next October. Council indicated Monday they would leave the final decision to the next council, which will be elected next November.

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