Kenora, Sioux Lookout and Pickle Lake remain the three highest cost jurisdictions in all of Ontario for OPP police services
KENORA – The Councils of Kenora, Sioux Lookout and Pickle Lake remain committed to working cooperatively with the Government of Ontario to find a funding solution for the extraordinarily high police costs in their three municipalities.
In April, the municipalities formed a coalition. Since that time, they have had meetings with OPP officials, Ministry staff, and the Minister on the cost crisis and discussed possible funding solutions to bring policing costs in-line with the rest of Ontario’s municipalities.
“We remain hopeful that a solution can be reached, but we are running against the clock with the New Year just a few weeks away,” says Mayor Lawrance, Mayor of Sioux Lookout. “This issue is not about the quality of OPP service, which has been excellent. The issue is the cost of policing for our northern hub municipalities. It is extremely high.”
Of approximately 330 Ontario municipalities that contract the OPP for police services, Pickle Lake, Sioux Lookout and Kenora are the three highest cost jurisdictions. While the median cost for policing for municipalities is about $300 per property, without discounts, Sioux Lookout, Kenora and Pickle Lake are approximately three times that cost.
“The financial impact of the provincial cost formula on our communities has been devastating and an unfair burden on municipal taxpayers,” states Kenora Mayor Andrew Poirier. “Compared to other municipalities in the province, since 2015, our three municipalities have paid $30 million more on policing than we should have. These funds could have been invested in critical infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and other community needs.”
Pickle Lake Mayor James Dalzell said, “We are each hubs for dozens of northern and remote communities, and each other. Our municipalities act as regional resource centres for healthcare, pharmacy, education, commerce, legal, and transportation services for First Nations peoples living in a geographical area larger than Germany.”
For Pickle Lake and Kenora, they serve communities double the size of their populations; for Sioux Lookout, they serve communities 5 times their population.
“The current system simply does not work for northern hub municipalities”, said Mayor Lawrance. “We need to implement a system that brings our police costs in line with other Ontario municipalities. We need to ensure there is enough money to invest in other critical community needs.”