The District of Port Hardy’s population continues to grow, which may mean paying for its own policing services in the near future. (North Island Gazette file photo)

Population increase means Port Hardy may have to start paying for its own police services

Places with population greater than 5,000 are responsible for funding their own police services.

With higher population statistics comes more responsibilities for the District of Port Hardy.

At their last meeting on June 23, Port Hardy council received a letter from Brenda Butterworth-Carr, Assistant Deputy Minister And Director of Police Services Policing and Security Branch, stating that under the police act, the provincial government is responsible for “providing police services to municipalities under 5,000 population and unincorporated areas.”

Butterworth-Carr continued, noting, “The province provides these services through the RCMP Provincial Service. Also, under the act, a municipality with a population greater than 5,000 is responsible for providing and funding police services within its municipal boundaries. The Canada Census is used to determine whether a municipality has crossed this threshold. The next Canada Census will take place in 2021, the results of which are anticipated for release in early 2022.”

According to information provided in Butterworth-Carr’s letter, ministry staff proactively monitor population estimates published annually by BC Stats to identify municipalities which are projected to exceed 5,000 population.

“… based on early analysis of these estimates, the District of Port Hardy is nearing 5,000 population.”

She then encouraged Port Hardy to start planning for the “responsibility of providing policing services and the financial impacts this responsibility entails. Staff will continue to monitor and keep you informed as new information becomes available, and as we refine our population projections.”

Port Hardy population stats:

2015 – 4,280;

2016 – 4,296;

2017 – 4,376;

2018 – 4,330;

2019 – 4,315;

2021 projection – 4,324.

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