Assiginack Township proposes to partner with Tehkummah for police board model

MANITOULIN – At least one Manitoulin Island municipality so far has decided to partner with a neighbouring township (to have one person represent the two on the proposed new policing board model), to bring down the total number of representatives for Manitoulin. As had been reported previously, the province had rejected the Manitoulin municipalities’ request on the composition of the new policing board model.

“In proposing to join Tehkummah Township to have one rep on the police board, we felt this was the logical thing to do,” stated Dave Ham, mayor of Assiginack township, after a council meeting last week. 

Alton Hobbs, CAO of Assiginack, told The Expositor, “Assiginack is willing to share a representative on the police board with Tehkummah if it helps to bring into compliance with what the province is looking for.” 

“The letter from the Manitoulin Municipal Association (MMA) said that the province indicated the original proposal for the police board (put forward by the MMA) didn’t meet the guidelines so the MMA was looking at ways to bring the number of representatives on the police board down to be in compliance,” said Mr. Hobbs. He added the township has communicated the motion it passed at its meeting last week to Tehkummah Township for consideration.

Ken Noland, chair of the MMA, had indicated previously that the Island policing model proposal was not accepted.

In a letter to the Township of Burpee and Mills dated August 31, Kiran Shahzad, senior policy advisor community safety and intergovernmental policy branch with the Ministry of the Solicitor General reads, “As it stands, the proposed board does not meet the 20 percent community representation and 20 percent provincial representation requirement,” wrote Ms. Shahzad. She explained, “a 13-member board requires that three board members be community reps and three members be provincial appointees (20 percent of 13 is 2.6, round up to three), bringing the total to 15 members. Upon consideration, to maintain consistency and fairness in composition, the ministry will require that the proposed board include the appropriate number of community and provincial representatives meet the 20 percent requirement.” 

Mr. Noland had explained the MMA wanted to have a total of four (community and provincial representatives on the board) from six, which would have worked out to nine municipalities having representation on the board, with two provincial appointees and two community representatives. However, the provincial regulations explain that the MMA must have three provincial appointees and three community representatives. He had also explained the Island municipalities wanted to wind down the numbers because they had all agreed the municipalities are all drawing from the same pool, with a large geographical area but a small population, and it is always the same people that are always appointed. The MMA proposal would keep the board smaller.

It had been suggested that Assiginack and Tehkummah could look at having one joint representative on the police board. The other suggestion was that Cockburn Island, Gordon and Burpee and Mills could jointly have one representative on the police board. “I know our municipality will be fine with this,” said Mr. Noland, who said that he will be getting in touch with Cockburn Island and Gordon/Barrie Island as well.