Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Regional Municipality sparring with province over highway policing

Cape Breton Regional Municipality is in a fight with the Nova Scotia government over policing on 100-series highways.

Mayor Amanda McDougall said in the last couple of weeks, the Department of Justice has said it will no longer pay RCMP to patrol the main highways in CBRM. The change was to take effect May 1.

McDougall said that’s contrary to written agreements with the province, and if the government wants to change the deal, it must give 12 months’ notice. 

“The fact that the provincial government are skipping that altogether and putting the public at risk? I really can’t understand their justification for this,” the mayor said.

McDougall said it would cost CBRM $700,000 to take over the province’s highways, and the municipality would have to hire officers and buy cars.

“The Department of Justice has said, ‘Hey CBRM, it’s up to you now,’ and we simply don’t have the resources,” she said.

“If they want us to patrol, we could do that, but they need to fund us the exact same way that they did the RCMP. It is absolutely wrong and ludicrous to think that they pay the RCMP to patrol those highways, yet they think that they don’t need to pay us to do the same thing.”

Reprieve granted until August

McDougall said after some correspondence, the province has offered to keep covering highway patrol until the end of August, but she said that doesn’t help much because CBRM’s budget for the year is already set and it doesn’t include added policing costs.

In an email, the province says policing within municipal boundaries, including 100-series highways, is a municipal responsibility.

See also  Province, HRM and Port of Halifax discussing land swaps

“The continuation of RCMP patrols without an agreement means the province and the federal government are subsidizing policing services in the municipality that are the responsibility of CBRM,” said justice spokesperson Toby Koffman.

He said the issue dates back to last year, when Cape Breton regional police decided to no longer second officers to support the RCMP with highway patrol duties.

Koffman said safety is important and highway patrols continue uninterrupted.

However, he said, CBRM needs to find a solution and get approval from the justice minister by Aug. 30.


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