LANARK HIGHLANDS - George Braithwaite has seen the future, and motorists who don't have their license stickers up to date should be worried.
Police tools .
Lanark Highlands Township's George Braithwaite, the representative of the Lanark County association of police services boards to the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, delivers his report at the county association's quarterly meeting at Providence Point, outside of Lanark Village, on Wednesday, March 6.
Braithwaite is a board member of the Township of Lanark Highland's police services board (PSB), and the Lanark County association of police services board's representative to the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB).
He was shown "new technology" at OPP headquarters in Orillia that will target whether license stickers on your car's plates are up to date.
"In areas where this was tested, there were line-ups at the Service Ontario (offices), with people seeking to renew their stickers," said Braithwaite, who added that "I won't say anything more about this," as it is still under wraps.
Braithwaite was speaking at the county's PSB association meeting at Providence Point, near Lanark Village in Lanark Highlands.
During his presentation, Braithwaite admitted that when it comes to communities like Drummond/North Elmsley Township, which do not have a PSB, "it works out slightly cheaper for DNE to operate with no PSB." DNE Reeve Aubrey Churchill explained to this newspaper that, in essence, his township simply receives a bill from the OPP once a year.
But Braithwaite pointed out that, by not having a PSB, "there would be no voice though the OAPSB locally. I feel that we do make a difference when we meet with senior folks in Orillia. I don't have any evidence (of this)," he admitted, but he painted the conversation between his group and the OPP brass as "free-flowing, candid, not very diplomatic, which is good."
He criticized the Ontario auditor general's report late last year which he said "would give you the impression that you would be crazy to have a board of directors (PSB). It is cheaper superficially... (But) I don't think it is cheaper in the long run."
The OAPSB has also struck a special committee to look at inconsistencies in policing costs across the province, specifically into why areas with populations like the Townships of Lanark Highlands, Tay Valley and Montague, "will have huge discrepancies in policing costs. (We need to) determine why these inconsistencies exist across the province. We don't understand why there are these inconsistencies and they create a lot of hate and discontent."
He pointed to Hawkesbury as an example, where policing costs about $1,000 per head of population.
"We are nowhere near that," he hastened to add, before agreeing that some communities may have different police needs that would raise the price.
"If you've got 400 bars on your main street, that might mean you need more cops," said Braithwaite. "If you've got an aboriginal community that is 80 clicks away," but within your police coverage area, "that might create additional policing costs. I'm not picking on the aboriginals."
Braithwaite did not seem to place much faith in the survival of Kathleen Wynne's new Liberal government at Queen's Park, and added that a change in government in Toronto might be necessary to get action on arresting policing costs.
"There is no point in lobbying politicians at Queen's Park if you don't know who will be in charge in six months time," Braithwaite said. "But there may not be an election this year."
As for discussions on policing costs, "it will probably take a new government to shake the turf on that."
Braithwaite charged that the OAPSB was drawing down heavily on its reserves to make ends meet and that the big 12 police boards across the province were not paying their fair share.
"The large police boards... with a far greater capacity to pay," should do so, he said. "Your money is precious too, and they are loathe to expel it... and that is human nature," he said, pointing to Toronto, specifically, with 6,000 police officers, as well as other major urban centres like Ottawa and Hamilton.