Policing costs put hitch in boat parade

Peggy Revell

The OPP has attached a $1,200 price tag on helping with this year’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship parade of boats—but it’s a fee town council is refusing to pay.
The issue was brought forward during Monday night’s regular meeting by Community Services manager George Bell after he received a request from the FFCBC’s board of directors for the town to cover the cost.
Councillors noted this fee hadn’t been charged in the past.
“I’m disappointed,” said Mayor Roy Avis, noting the FFCBC is an important community event.
He also wondered how often this is going to happen when police assistance for community events like parades is needed from now on.
Other councillors echoed the mayor’s disappointment, but didn’t approve the requested amount—instead recommending the FFCBC board investigate other options for the parade.
The current route sees the parade starting at the old CN Station, heading down Central Avenue and onto Scott Street, and then ending at the Sports Memorial Centre.
But policing would not be required if the route was changed so that it does not go through any traffic lights.
As well, council suggested the FFCBC board request assistance instead from Treaty #3 Police.
Coun. Sharon Tibbs noted they have jurisdiction given the current parade route goes along a provincial highway (i.e., Scott Street).
“We’ll follow [council’s] lead, basically,” said FFCBC chairman Gord Watson.
He noted a meeting is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday), where the issue will be addressed—including what other options may be available.
“We’re going to follow the town’s lead,” he reiterated. “And if we have to pay $1,200 bucks, we’ll pay $1,200 bucks.
“It’s a good community event so we’ll go ahead and pay the $1,200.”
OPP detachment commander Insp. John Kendrick, in a letter to the town, explained the cost for police assistance with parades depends on the proposed route and other factors.
Currently, one or two officers usually are assigned for the day shift in Fort Frances. If these officers were to attend the parade, they would have to leave if any calls for service came in.
“If given enough notice, there is a possibility that we can activate the local OPP auxiliary officer to assist if he is available,” Insp. Kendrick wrote.
“There is no cost associated to the OPP auxiliary volunteer, although he often needs some notice to accommodate his work schedule.
“In years past, depending on the route, there have been upwards of five officers, plus the auxiliary, required to assist traffic control with this particular parade,” Insp. Kendrick added.
“If this is the case this year, and with the auxiliary officer involved, a paid duty rate is $240 per officer [minimum four hours] times five, which equals $1,200.”
Insp. Kendrick added the option exists for the detachment commander to waive the $63.25 administration fee and the $28.75/hr. vehicle fee, which would be done for this event.