An official with the Integrated Security Unit (ISU) took an inappropriate role in influencing the decision by Contemporary Security Canada (CSC) to locate its housing camp at Rainbow, Pemberton's mayor said Wednesday.
The agenda package for the Resort Municipality of Whistler's Oct. 20 council meeting contains an e-mail correspondence from Insp. Keith Davidson, ISU's Private Security Coordinator, which appears to suggest that CSC locate its camp at the Rainbow neighbourhood over anywhere else.
"I'm concerned about the uncertainty of their accommodation at this stage of the project, especially with the very short delivery window that now remains," it reads. "If your Rainbow location is not secured, I fear any alternative would create additional risks and impact your delivery of the GSS services."
This came as a shock to Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy, who was under the impression that ISU couldn't influence CSC's decision-making.
"I was assured by the RCMP Deputy Commissioner that it was not appropriate for ISU to be influencing the location," he said.
Sturdy said he telephoned Deputy Commissioner Bud Mercer, head of ISU, before CSC made its decision. He asked him to provide some influence toward locating the camp in Pemberton but Sturdy says Mercer responded by saying it wouldn't be appropriate for him to do so.
"Yet what do I see in that agenda package, an e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org," he said. "Bud Mercer said it's not appropriate for ISU to be influencing the location of the camp... I respected that, I don't deny that, I think that's a good policy, yet what do I see here?"
Staff Sgt. Mike Cote, a spokesman for the Integrated Security Unit, spoke to Pique in two separate interviews. First he said that CSC has a contract requirement to obtain "suitable accommodations" for its workforce in the Whistler area - and that includes Pemberton. He said it wasn't Davidson's intent to influence CSC's decision and that context sometimes get lost in an e-mail.
"The intent of that e-mail was simply to indicate that accommodation, as per the contract, would have to be obtained within the Whistler area and that was basically it," Cote said.
But Davidson's message said nothing about locating in the Whistler area and made a specific suggestion to locate the housing camp at Rainbow.
Cote then said he would speak to Davidson again. Once he did that, he called Pique once more and maintained there was "no direction whatsoever."
"I know that in discussions it's hard to get the tone," he said. "The tone is up for interpretation in an e-mail as you well know.
"Our only stipulation is that it has to be in the Whistler area. It's tough for them to find accommodations for their workforce and we were always confident that they would."
Cote went on to say that Davidson never intended to persuade anyone to go to a particular location.