RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)

Kelowna RCMP changes approach to Big White policing amid COVID-19 concerns

Previously, the RCMP did not have an officer stationed on the mountain permanently

The West Kelowna and Kelowna RCMP will be increasing patrols at Big White after resort management called for help to deal with the lack of compliance with public health orders in the area.

Big White is part of the Kelowna rural jurisdiction, which is the responsibility of the West Kelowna RCMP. The West Kelowna detachment responds to complaints and conducts investigations in the area as required.

In a Wednesday news release, the RCMP stated additional patrols are often assigned to the area during winter weekends and special events. The Capital News previously reported the RCMP does not have an officer permanently stationed on the mountain.

READ MORE: RCMP won’t send additional resources to Big White, despite requests

However, given the increase in COVID-19 cases at Big White this week, the detachment is changing its approach and sending resources to the area.

“Due to concerns that have been brought to us by the community, we will be increasing our patrols and police presence in the area,” said Insp. Kent Lowe of the Kelowna RCMP. “Our officers will be there to ensure public safety and will be taking necessary enforcement action.”

The RCMP reminded the public that contravening provincial public health orders is a ticketable offence. Owners or organizers of events can face fines of $2,300, while those who fail to wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces, do not comply with directions of an enforcement officer, or become abusive or belligerent can be fined $230.

“There is a unique situation occurring in the community of Big White. The RCMP will be there to assist the community in containing that situation and maintaining public safety,” said the Kelowna Regional Detachment’s top cop Supt. Kara Triance. “While we certainly can, and will enforce the provisions available to us under the COVID Related Measures Act, we continue to encourage everyone to voluntarily comply with the provincial health orders, so enforcement is not required.”

READ MORE: 91 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health; Big White group households lend to cluster

READ MORE: Big White employees fired as resort officials curb COVID-19 cluster

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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