The City of Fernie will pay for policing costs after Statistics Canada confirmed it had passed the population threshold of 5000 people.
The council had requested a review of the 2016 census and dwelling counts, which originally put the population at 5249 – well above the city’s own forecasts.
The official census numbers have been adjusted to 5136 people but as it is still above the threshold, the council will be responsible for policing costs dating back to April 1, 2017.
At a regular meeting on February 26, Fernie councillors reluctantly voted to approve the Municipal Police Unit Agreement with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, authorizing Mayor Mary Giuliano to sign the agreement.
“I think we’re all opposed but there’s nothing we can do about it,” said councillor Angela Qualizza.
The council has already allocated $782,520 in the 2017 and 2018 budgets for five Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and one admin position.
In 2019, the city will be fully responsible for six RCMP members and one admin position at an estimated cost of $915,243.