The Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment is in need of replacement. (Citizen file)

The Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment is in need of replacement. (Citizen file)

Editorial: Shawnigan detachment in need of a move, not closure

Amalgamating these stations would be a big mistake.

It seems clear that most residents in South Cowichan would like to see a new Shawnigan RCMP detachment building, and it believe it should be in a new location.

And it’s a view that makes sense. The Trans Canada Highway running through the community does provide a good percentage of the detachment’s calls for service, and a location closer to this major artery could only be good for access to the region in general.

Mill Bay/Malahat CVRD area director Kerry Davis tells us that the building is old and in need of replacement, and that a piece of land was earmarked by the regional district and provided to the RCMP for just this purpose.

Seems like it should be easy enough from there.

But then apparently there was some waffling from on high about not just whether a new detachment building is necessary, land on a silver platter or not, but whether the Shawnigan detachment is needed at all. There’s been consideration, we hear, of amalgamating Shawnigan’s detachment with the North Cowichan/Duncan office.

That’s an idea we’d definitely like to see put to bed permanently. Amalgamating these stations would be a big mistake. Crime stats would tell us that we would still definitely need an office in Duncan. So where does that leave Shawnigan and Mill Bay? A long drive from the nearest station, we’d guess. Even with patrols and the like, we can only imagine it would leave South Cowichan, home to growing communities, severely underserviced.

It makes no sense to have to make the long drive from Duncan every time there’s a crash on the Malahat. It’s a rather scary thought for someone making a 9-1-1 call where they need speedy police assistance in Shawnigan Lake.

So we’d love to see a new Shawnigan detachment moved closer to the highway, but deplore the idea of closing it.

The geography of such a move doesn’t make sense.

Sometimes centralizing isn’t the best idea.

This is one of them.