Richmond Councillors Call for End of Pet Project Slush Fund, Release Public Safety Plan

For Immediate Release

October 22, 2008

RICHMOND – Richmond Council must stop diverting dedicated public safety funds to a slush fund for pet projects, Richmond City Councillor Derek Dang said today on behalf of the Richmond First Team.

“This year we had $1.8-million coming back to the City of Richmond from the RCMP due to delayed staffing replacements and almost 90% of it was diverted away from public safety and towards pet projects,” said Councillor Dang. “These funds were dedicated to public safety and that’s where they should go in full public view.”

In 2008, Richmond RCMP received a funding allotment from the City of Richmond in the order of $31-million for policing services. Funds that are not spent by the RCMP due to unfilled vacancies, maternity leave, and other cost savings are routinely returned back to the City at fiscal year end. In 2008, the amount remitted to the City topped $1.8-million where all but $185,000 was spent on non-public safety programs ranging from local theatre seats to an Olympic business office.

“People keep telling us that public safety is their number one priority so I wonder why others on Council would choose to fritter this money away in general revenue rather than dedicate it to a public safety capital fund to benefit our community,” said Councillor McNulty. “It’s a strange concept but I’ve called for public safety money to be spent on public safety and I think we need new leadership on council to ensure that happens.”

To help address the crime problems faced in Richmond, the Richmond First Council Team unveiled its Four Point Public Safety Plan to address public safety issues in Richmond

1. Redirect the abused RCMP surplus to a dedicated fund for community police stations, crime prevention programs, fire rescue equipment and high demand public safety capital upgrades.

2. Continuing to put pressure on Translink to protect the Canada Line to prevent it from becoming a “Crime Train” by increasing policing and adding fare gates at Richmond stations.

3. Fighting gang violence and organized crime through increases resources for RCMP integrated taskforces to ensure everyone feels safe in our community.

4. Working with the RCMP to reach a full compliment of officers to get more police on the street and in our neighbourhoods.

“The Richmond First Four Point Pubic Safety Plan is what our community needs to address the issue of crime in our City,” said Bennie Yung, Director of the Greater Vancouver Crime Stoppers. “People don’t feel safe anymore and I respect Richmond First for being the only group of candidates that are working to change that sentiment.”

“We need to see Richmond step up and put more resources in to public safety programs,” said Richmond First council candidate Kiichi Kumagai. “It’s very disturbing to me when residents do not feel safe in their own neighbourhood.”

“We’re headed down a dangerous road in our city if we don’t act now,” said Richmond First council candidate Ken Johnston. “It’s common sense that your family’s safety should be the top priority but that seems totally lost on the current council mix.”

The Richmond First Team is sending a thought-provoking brochure across Richmond to spark public debate around the public safety issue. These brochures will reach thousands of Richmond doorsteps this month in advance of the November 15, 2008 civic election.

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