Justice Minister, Kathleen Ganley, recently sent a letter in response to Mayor of Bonnyville Gene Sobolewski’s correspondence with MLA Scott Cyr in regards to police funding in the area.
In the letter, Minister Ganley stated that, “no changes are being brought forward at this time.”
“It was a little bit disappointing,” said Mayor Sobolewski, “that was something we were really pushing for.”
The mayor said he’s not done lobbying the province for more funding and support, “what Council and I talked about is getting together with a larger group, with the Reeve (Greg Sawchuk) and lobbying at the FCM and AUMA.”
With a stronger, united voice, Mayor Sobolewski is hopeful that the areas concerns will be heard.
“We were talking about increase funding, [more] Crown Prosecutors, and getting more court dockets to help stop the revolving door,” Sobolewksi addressed an issue that has been affecting the Lakeland; the catch & release system.
Often police are able to catch the criminals, however the area is seeing a lot of repeat offenders, leading one to believe that they offenders are not spending enough time in jail or are released on low or no bail.
“We have to keep pushing,” Mayor Sobolewski said he and representatives from neighbouring communities met with Minister Ganley in late March. The leaders of the municipalities express great concern with the justice system and rural crime.
The mayor acknowledged that the province has increased funding to help combat rural crime on a policing side of things, though more support is needed in the justice system and the courts.