Fourteen people in Peachland will cost the municipality $651,600 this year.
That’s how much using the RCMP as its police force will cost the municipality in 2016 because the population is now 5,013 according to B.C. Stats, 14 more than the cutoff for having policing costs covered by the province.
In B.C., municipalities with populations between 5,000 and 14,999 pay 70 per cent of RCMP contract costs while municipalities with populations larger than 15,000 pay 90 per cent. The remaining 30 per cent and 10 per cent respectively are paid by the federal government. Municipalities with less than 5,000 residents do contribute a small amount to policing when they use the RCMP but the province covers most of the cost.
And to make matters worse for Peachland, 2016 marks the first year the full 70 per cent share will have to come out of the annual taxes collected.
While Peachland’s population has been over 5,000 for the last five years, the policing costs there have been offset by tapping into a reserve fund set prior to 2012 to help pay the bigger bill.
“This is the first year that won’t happen,” said Doug Pryde, finance director for the municipality, adding the offset was set up to only be a five-year program.
According to B.C. stats Peachland was only municipality in the Central Okanagan to see a decrease in its population in last year, dropping 1.5 per cent to 5,013 from 5,088 in 2014.
Kelowna remains the largest city in Okanagan with a population of 124,378 (up 2.3 per cent from 121,529 in 2014—and the seventh largest city in B.C.— while West Kelowna is now the third largest city in the Valley with a population of 34,484, up 5.3 per cent from the previous year. Vernon with a population in 2015 of 40,497 is second and Penticton dropped to fourth in the Okanagan in 2015 with 33, 964 residents, the result of a with a 0.3 per cent drop.
Overall, the greater Kelowna area —the Central Okanagan Regional District—grew 3.2 per cent last year to 189,480, keeping it the third largest metropolitan area in B.C after Greater Vancouver and the area around Victoria.