The extent of promises made in 1998 about police presence in Chemainus is coming before North Cowichan council Wednesday, March 18, 2021. (Photo by Pete Cavanaugh)

The extent of promises made in 1998 about police presence in Chemainus is coming before North Cowichan council Wednesday, March 18, 2021. (Photo by Pete Cavanaugh)

Police presence petition presented to North Cowichan council

Former Chemainus detachment officer to make presentation Wednesday at virtual meeting

The situation pertaining to the level of police service that’s long been a bone of contention for Chemainus and Crofton residents is on the agenda of North Cowichan council’s virtual meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Former constable Terry van Seters worked at the Chemainus detachment for 12 years, including two years after it was absorbed into the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment. He’s brought it to the public’s attention that a commitment from 1998 to maintain eight officers in an expanded Chemainus region, with two officers working the area 24/7, has not been honoured.

A petition started by van Seters, who’s now retired and spent many years in the service on the Lower Mainland after leaving Chemainus, has garnered nearly 1,000 signatures in a short period of time.

The petition has been presented to council for discussion and consideration.

North Cowichan’s meeting agenda package indicates “this is considered informational to bring forward a matter of interest to council’s attention, expression of a group of people’s opinion. It is not considered a formal petition as described under the Community Charter.”

“I sent the entire petition,” said van Seters. “I broke it down to who signed from the catchment area and I sent a lot of background information on it.”

Related story: Petition calls for policing commitment in Chemainus to be honoured

Key to that package are two articles from local newspapers that outlined how a certain level of service in Chemainus would be maintained. This followed an informational meeting in 1998 that drew an emotional response.

The decision was made to keep officers who would not leave the zone. Van Seters contends even during his time in the late 1990s and into 2000 officers were continually pulled south and the Chemainus-Crofton coverage was not maintained.

Van Seters has three minutes to state the case and said he’ll be concentrating on two key questions:

1) Is there anything that will compel the municipal council to honour the promises made to the residents of the north end of the municipality in 1998 for an enhanced zone policing when their detachment was closed?

2) I know an informal petition without verification of residency has little impact. Would a formal petition as described under the Community Charter provide any more incentive for the municipality to act on those promises?

Further to that, van Seters is asking whether the municipality has the power to tell the officer in charge of the RCMP detachment that he must honour those promises by instituting a defined zone policing strategy that will see two officers committed to the zone on a 24-hour basis.

“It is understood that police officers in either the north or the south part of the municipality must be free to cover each other when required for serious incidents,” he added. “They must not be saddled with the ensuing paperwork and follow-up for those incidents, and must be free to return to their assigned area.”

Van Seters said he will require a definitive answer so he can tell supporters of the petition if they are “flogging a dead horse” and that promises made to taxpayers by elected officials and the RCMP won’t be acknowledged.

Chemainus businessman Ward Yeager presented the north end policing concerns during a CBC radio interview last week and North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring acknowledged on the same program the issue has “been around for years.”

Siebring cited statistics that calls for service don’t justify the assignment of eight police officers for the north end.

“Most often in my time as a police officer in Chemainus and Crofton, there were two officers patrolling the area during the day, while the corporal and sergeant did the administrative paperwork in the office,” van Seters explained. “In the evening and during the night, after a certain time, one police officer was always in the area and on patrol. Callouts during the on-call down hours from 2-7 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and 4- 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday resulted in one police officer responding, and usually within 20 minutes.”

He added the north end no longer needs two administrative positions in the office, as the patrol members will submit their work to the main office in the south end, mostly done by electronic means.

“What the community requires is that visible presence in their communities on a regular basis, where the police officers become familiar with, and familiar to, the residents of the area.

“They must have a base of operations. The highway patrol office is hardened as required by RCMP security concerns as a police facility. If it is the municipality’s intention to lease that space as an income source, as it is now with the provincial highway patrol there, and not use it as a police facility, then another facility will have to be equally hardened at a significant cost. Dedicated police resources for the north end must work out of a visible police facility in the north end.”

As for the perceived costs of having the police officers here that’s been brought up by some residents, it’s not an issue, van Seters said.

“This is to do with what they were supposed to do with the members of the detachment they have right now,” he noted.

Anyone who’s interested can view the council meeting that starts at 1:30 p.m. on-line.

Municipal GovernmentPolice

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


This article from the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle in 1998 documents what was supposed to happen with the policing situation after the Chemainus deatchment became part of North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP operations. (File)

This article from the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle in 1998 documents what was supposed to happen with the policing situation after the Chemainus deatchment became part of North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP operations. (File)

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Logan Rands pokes the puck away from Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Talon Duff. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Offence sags as Cowichan Capitals reach midway mark

Caps score one goal in three games as pod season continues

BCYP Minister for the Southern Interior, Aislinn Dressler of Fernie said the Youth Parliament being virtual was a great way to learn about how the BC Parliament was operating. (Photo contributed by Aislinn Dressler)
Applications open for Islands Youth Parliament

Applications must be received by April 23

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, says the municipality’s fire halls have responded to more fires than usual this spring. (File photo)
Dry weather, wind leads to more brushfires this spring in North Cowichan

‘Be safe. Be fire smart. Be situationally aware.’

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Most Read