Discover more from northern capital news
A path to dropping the RCMP
Plus a row at Red Robin and a China Sail brick in the wall
I’ve argued in this newsletter before that when it comes to looking for cities to compare ourselves to, we could do worse than Grande Prairie. Located just across the B.C.-Alberta from Dawson Creek there are quite a few similarities — both are northern, regional centres that serve as a base for other more resource-based communities with fairly similar populations (Prince George proper: 76,708; Grande Prairie proper: 67,669) that, coincidentally, are both the 9th biggest population centres in their respective provinces. So it’s been with quite a bit of interest that I’ve been following Grande Prairie’s debate over whether to ditch the RCMP in favour of a municipal police force — a debate which, as of Monday, took a major leap forward. From the city website:
Grande Prairie City Council has approved the establishment of a municipal police service and transition away from the RCMP.
The decision was made at a Grande Prairie City Council meeting on March 6 and follows a years-long assessment of policing in Grande Prairie. The assessment included a public consultation process, a review of existing policing methods, and the creation of a transition plan, led by the consultant MNP.
“Grande Prairie City Council believes transitioning to a municipal police service will best serve our community and create a more locally responsive policing solution with local oversight, addressing local needs,” said Grande Prairie Mayor, Jackie Clayton. “We recognize and are grateful for the service of the RCMP in Grande Prairie and everything they’ve done to serve and protect our community. We look forward to working alongside the RCMP as the City of Grande Prairie transitions to a municipal police service over the next five years.”
While Surrey has been in the process of transitioning away from the RCMP for the last few years, the situation there is a lot different. Surrey is a city of more than half-a-million people, several times bigger than Prince George. It also neighbours Vancouver, a city that also has a municipal police force. Its switch — while contentious — has a lot fewer lessons to offer to smaller municipalities that may be considering doing the same thing than a place like Grande Prairie does. It’s in a similar geographic situation to Prince George, with a similar tax base and even similar crime rates — heck, Grande Prairie has also been named the most dangerous in Canada by Maclean’s magazine. So if they do this, it provides a path forward for Prince George to do the same… if it even wants to. I haven’t heard much talk of the idea publicly, but between Surrey making the switch and the potential impacts of that, plus the possible fallout from the provincial investigation into RCMP conduct here in the 2000s, plus the possible further fallout from RCMP officers here being put on trial for manslaughter — it’s a possibility, and one that’s even more possible if Grande Prairie shows how it can be done. The next election is in four years and a lot can change in that time.
A row at Red Robin
After a Facebook post about the incident went viral, the big news yesterday was an altercation at Red Robin in which a manager allegedly assaulted a customer, according to witness accounts:
She said a man —who both she and the company later identified as a Red Robin manager — threw food, including cheese sauce, at a male customer who was sitting next to his young daughter, in a booth with his family.
Warnke told CBC News she could see the diner was "covered in food, some sort of cheese sauce."
She said the assailant then started hitting the customer, "trying to throw in a punch wherever he could.
"I heard a child screaming and a woman yelling, 'get off of him! get off of him!'" said Warnke. "I was shocked. It just kind of got my heart going."
Police and emergency responders were called, the manager fired and counselling offered to staff. Also, people have been making memes:
A brick from the China Sail in the new McDonald’s
I guess the McDonald’s in my neighbourhood had its soft opening last night, according to posts from city councillors and the sorts of people who always seem to get invited to these sorts of things. Idk. Mixed feelings. It makes sense and I have no real opposition to it but it will definitely change the character of the area. This is a nice touch, though:
Speaking of restaurants, there’s a new Reddit thread asking people what kind they’d like to see open here. The top answer, not surprisingly, is an authentic Mexican place or tacqueria. I know there’s no such thing as a safe bet when it comes to opening a restaurant but honestly, this seems like as close to a safe bet an aspiring restauranteur could hope for. The fact we don’t have one blows my mind.
Speaking of wish lists, the CEO of the Prince George airport has a wishlist of direct flights he’d like to get added to the city, including Vegas and somewhere on continental Europe.
The city plans to sell four pieces of public land, including more property along Ospika and a piece of Stirling Park.
Seven people died of toxic drug deaths in the city in January. Just under seven a day died in B.C. overall.
UNBC Musical Productions is set to debut its production of ‘No, No, Nanette’ next week.
The Fraser Institute has ranked Ron Brent as the worst elementary school in the province, althought there are numerous reasons to take those rankings with a large grain of salt.
Northern Capital News is a free, daily newsletter about life in Prince George. Please consider subscribing or, if you have, sharing with someone else.
Send feedback by replying to this email. Follow me online @mstdn.ca/@akurjata.