More often than not, there’s no one in the gallery at Trail council meetings other than a few media people.
This week, there was a visitor with a mission.
Sgt. Mike Wicentowich was on hand Monday night to answer any questions council may have had about a short-term change at the Trail RCMP detachment.
The front office will be closed every Friday beginning this week and stretching until the end of the year.
Wicentowich emphasized there will be no impact to police service.
The closure on six Fridays (until Dec. 28) is simply for administration to catch up with a backlog of paper work.
“Anyone reporting a crime or requesting the service from a police officer during the closed Fridays will see the same level of service provided as if the detachment front desk was open,” the sergeant said.
“Administrative work completed by police officers and the temporary closures will not affect the speed or quality in which investigations are completed.”
The front desk at the Trail detachment will remain open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. for general inquiries, criminal record check services and other administrative requests.
He assured council there will be a sign posted on the front door with the closure dates, and clear instructions, on how to contact the police using the installed telephone service, which is attached next to the detachment’s entrance.
“All calls from the phone are routed to the Kelowna Operational Communication Centre, then dispatched directly to police officers,” he explained. “The Trail and Greater District detachment strives to maintain consistent and quality service, and thanks the public for their patience and cooperation during these temporary and necessary closures.”
Coun. Paul Butler, newly appointed to the city’s Protective Services file, provided an update during council reports.
“I met with Sergeant Mike Wicentowich to discuss my appointment … and to gain a better and more thorough understanding of the current climate and situation at the Trail RCMP detachment,” Butler began. “Sergeant Wicentowich was very open to discussion and spoke in a truly erudite manner towards the current challenges, strengths and opportunities he is seeing and bringing to the role.”
Butler touched on the increasing number of calls to the detachment, in particular those pertaining to petty theft.
“It is important to note that Protective Service men and women take their roles and responsibilities very seriously and must field each call with the same professionalism and standard no matter the perceived level of importance,” he said. “Fielding calls takes up valuable police time and when one asks themselves, ‘What can I do,’ my mind travels back to the adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” Butler added.
“Efforts by individuals to help reduce theft don’t go unnoticed and simple acts like locking car doors, storing goods in a shed with a lock, or not leaving valuables in view, all help immensely.”
As far as reviving Citizens on Patrol, Butler says there are a handful of active community members on patrol, and a new “hybrid” model is being looked at.
Aside from police updates, Trail council tackled a few housekeeping duties this week.
For starters, the panel set new utility rates for 2019.
When homeowners receive their garbage, water and sewer bill early in the new year, the invoice will be $772 or about $5 more than 2018. Water rates stayed the same at $376 annually, but garbage collection went up to $132, which is $2 more than last year. Additionally, sewer rates will increase to $264 in 2019, or $3 higher than the year previous.
Anyone who pays their bill in full before Feb. 28 is subject to a 7.5 per cent discount.
Lastly, council agreed to close city hall for Christmas from Monday, Dec. 24 to Friday, Dec. 28.
City hall will re-open for business Dec. 31, which is the payment deadline for 2018 utility (water/sewer/garbage) accounts.