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RCMP studying Site C's potential impact on crime rate

The Ministry of Justice has hired an RCMP officer to look at the potential impact Site C could have on Fort St. John’s crime rate, but a final report isn't expected to be finished until October, four months after construction is expected to begin.

The Ministry of Justice has hired an RCMP officer to look at the potential impact Site C could have on Fort St. John’s crime rate, but a final report isn't expected to be finished until October, four months after construction is expected to begin. 

BC Hydro was present at a Fort St. John city council meeting this week to discuss the Site C dam. It would be built less than seven kilometers from the city, if multiple lawsuits against the project do not prevail.

City Manager Dianne Hunter expressed concerns about whether or not additional policing would be needed in light of the workforce that comes to the area for the project, since the city pays for about three quarters of the current police force. The province pays the remainder.

“We haven’t had a provincial RCMP attachment added to our detachment for the last 20 years,” she said. “There’s a concern to the impacts on the officers that we pay for, and how they are deployed, and where the resources are going.”

Now an RCMP officer is looking at the policing situation on BC Hydro’s dime, according to a Hydro representative.

“[Hydro has] a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Justice, at their suggestion, that they engage, at [Hydro’s] cost, an RCMP liaison officer to review the status of the project and the potential need for any additional policing,” said Siobhan Jackson, BC Hydro's manager of environment and social issues for the Site C project.

David Conway, a Site C spokesman, said Carlson would look at any criminal issues that the extra people brought in by Site C may present to police, including traffic and liquor violations.

If the review finds that additional officers are needed, Hydro may have to put forward more money, and the project may have additional costs.

“[Hydro] would provide additional funds to support incremental policing requirements,” the Site C Joint Review Panel wrote in its report last year. 

Staff Sgt. Rod Carlson, a current RCMP officer, has been working with the Site C project team since last October on this report.  

 “[Carlson] has been with the RCMP for 34 years,” Conway wrote in an email. “The RCMP selected Staff Stg. Carlson as the officer to fill the Police Liaison Officer position.”

It’s unclear if the report will be available publicly.

“The final report will be submitted to the Director of Police Services with the Ministry of Justice once the RCMP have reviewed it,” Conway wrote in an e-mail. “BC Hydro is not the owner of the report and as such we can’t make any commitments regarding when or how it will be released.”

 reporter@ahnfsj.ca