No support for regional policing in greater Saint John

A bid by Saint John to explore regional policing has been spiked by the Fundy Regional Service Commission.

Fundy Regional Service Commission scraps idea to co-operate on police services

A bid by Saint John to explore regional policing has been spiked by the Fundy Regional Service Commission.

The motion for a unified police force in the greater Saint John area, brought forward by mayor Mel Norton, couldn't find a seconder at the commission's meeting held on Tuesday.

Mayors from the towns of Rothesay and Quispamsis, two of the largest suburban centres, had already spoken out against the idea because they already have a lower cost regional force.

Earlier this month, Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop said a combined police department stretching from Musquash to St. Martins would not be an improvement for his town.

Other communities feared any policing arrangement with the city of Saint John would lead to higher taxes.

Grace Losier, the mayor of Grand Bay-Westfield and chair of the commission, said people in her community aren't ready to revisit the debate on a new policing model.

"We've just been through this process just 14 years ago," said Losier, referring to the town's agreement with the RCMP. "This is a very sensitive process, and it's a very expensive process to go through."

"We're quite content with the policing authority we've chosen."

Losier said even a study of regional policing would cost $250,000.

She said she is confident it would cost people in her community more money than they would be willing to pay.

"It just seems clearly for me a waste of time," said Losier.

However, Norton said he isn't ready to give up the idea with the five communities and nine local service districts that make up the Fundy Regional Service Commission.

"Certainly we'll have a chance to revisit it," he said. "Our council is dedicated to always finding ways to better serve our community and better ways to deliver value for our community."

Saint John has its own police force, while the Rothesay Regional Police Force covers Rothesay and Quispamsis. Grand Bay-Westfield has contracted its policing service from the Mounties since 1998.

The Rothesay Regional Police costs $5.5 million per year and that is roughly split in half between the two towns.