Federal Bill C-48 on bail reform supported by Council
City of Williams Lake Council is lending its support to a recently-passed federal bill on bail reform.
At its Tuesday, January 16, 2024 Regular Meeting Council voted to support BillC-48, which makes several amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada targeted at strengthening Canada’s bail system relating to violent and repeat prolific offenders involving weapons.
Council also voted to take a policy position against prolific offenders being released on bail into the community, and requested both the Provincial and Federal governments to implement secure, mandatory care for offenders dealing with addiction and mental health issues, particularly prolific offenders.
Discussion on the bill among members of Council centered on the topic of enforcing mandatory care requirements for prolific offenders weighing human rights against community safety.
Bill C-48 establishes new situations where are verse onus applies to a bail hearing, placing the burden of proof on the defendant.
In a reverse onus proceeding the presumption is that the accused person will be detained while awaiting their trial, unless they can demonstrate to the court they should be released by showing there is no just cause for their detention.
Bill C-48 adds additional firearms-related and repeat intimate partner violent offenses to the list of proceedings where a reverse onus can apply.
Council agreed to continue to advocate for more mental health and addictions supports for organizations in the community, and noted alternative solutions to deal with these complex issues should be explored, as well.
Council said it hopes to continue the discussion in Prince George this June when the North Central Local Government Association hosts the province’s first opioid convention.
Anyone interested in reading Bill C-48 can do so on the Federal Government’s website at www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-48
City to display 9-8-8 Crisis Line information poster
Council will recognize the significance and importance of the new National 9-8-8 Crisis Line to ensure critical barriers are removed to those in a crisis and seeking help.
In addition, Council will endorse the 9-8-8 crisis line by displaying its poster in all municipally owned and operated buildings.
Williams Lake RCMP Inspector provides Council update on detachment operations
Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Robert Lake provided City of Williams Lake Council the detachment’s police commission report for August to December 2023 at its Tuesday, January 16 Regular Meeting.
Lake provided updates on detachment resources, crime trends, investigations and convictions of interest and annual call volume.
Of note, Lake said the detachment hopes to add a municipal traffic position to its team to oversee municipal traffic within city limits.
From August 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023, Lake said there were 4,559 calls for service in the Williams Lake jurisdiction: an increase of 218 calls (5.02 per cent) for service compared to 2022 during the same time period.
“We need that more visible presence (in city limits),” Lake said. “School zones, speeding violations, we want to make sure that position will be staffed.”
Lake said moving forward detachment updates will be provided to Council during public meetings on a quarterly basis.
Council asked for an update on prolific offenders living in or near the community and thanked Lake, as well as all of the staff at the detachment, for their work.
Streets for All Williams Lake updates Council on success of fall active transportation events
Streets for All Williams Lake representatives were on hand to recount the success of its Fall 2023 Go By Bike Williams Lake and active transportation events and activities.
Go By Bike and Streets for All Williams Lake said they recorded 231 riders (178 new), logged 5,060 kilometres total and also saved1,076 kilograms of greenhouse gases during Fall Go By Bike Weeks.
Thanking Council for its support helping foster continued growth in active transportation initiatives in the community, Streets for All Williams Lake said it hopes to continue to work collaboratively.
Council also thanked Streets for All Williams Lake for its efforts and commitment to the community.
Proposal for seniors activity park in Kiwanis Park received and endorsed
A presentation from the Rotary Club of Williams Lake at the January 9 Committee of Whole Council meeting was officially endorsed by Council.
The Rotary Club of Williams Lake is proposing a seniors activity park located in the vacant greenspace in Kiwanis Park on Proctor Street adjacent to the playground.
The City will now prepare a report outlining further information required for the project including estimated cost of in-kind contributions for City installation for a future Council meeting.
Council’s approval will also be forwarded to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee for discussion.
Council to submit NCLGA resolution on aquamation
Council agreed to submit a resolution to the 2024 North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) Convention encouraging the Province to make amendments to its Cemetery, Interment and Funeral Services Act to allow alkaline hydrolysis, or aquamation process for funeral services in B.C.
Council will ask the Cariboo Regional District to co-sponsor the resolution with the City at an upcoming Joint Committee meeting.
Council proclaims Heritage Week February 19-25
Council proclaimed the week of February 19-25, 2024 as Heritage Week in the City of Williams Lake at the request of Heritage BC.