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District of Muskoka is moving forward with community recruitment for OPP Detachment Boards
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District of Muskoka is moving forward with community recruitment for OPP Detachment Boards

Posted: 2024-02-21 07:05:20 By: thebay

The District of Muskoka agreed to move forward with the community recruitment process for the OPP Detachment Boards, in the February 20, 2024, Council meeting.

Staff made two recommendations for the recruitment process.

The first recommendation is for recruitment of a community civilian member for the Southern Georgian Bay OPP Detachment Board (SGB), which will launch February 21st.

This Detachment Board will work in collaboration with four other participating municipalities.

According to the agenda, as the delegated authority, the District will “enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with participating municipalities with respect to the SGB Board selection and appointment process and any future documents (legal or otherwise) related to the administration of the Board and the associated sharing the costs to manage the SGB Board.”

The District has approved Councillor Peter Koetsier as their representative for responsibilities including reviewing submissions on the recruitment panel and providing the District with recommendations regarding the community member that will represent SGB.

The second recommendation involves staff moving forward with the recruitment process for community representatives for Huntsville and Bracebridge OPP Detachment Boards.

A District official will participate in the selection panel for community member recruitment from each municipality.

Once the review process is completed, Council will consider the appointment of Huntsville and Bracebridge OPP Detachment Board community representatives to formally establish the Boards.

CAO, Julie Stevens, advised that the District is unique because of policing by three detachments, with representatives required for Huntsville, Bracebridge, and SGB.

Koetsier expressed concern about receiving “little participation from the District” in the past regarding the SGB Board making decisions with small surrounding communities, and about “misinterpretation.”

He added, “I don’t believe the motion reflects the intention of the communities serviced by SGB. The motion doesn’t reflect the intention of what was wanted. The intention would be a CAO of SGB… It seems to me we are making things more complicated than they need to be.”

Regarding Koetsier’s comment about the District not participating, Stevens advised they have not been invited to meetings in the past, therefore, “had no understanding of the level of work being done.”

She continued that there hasn’t been a clear understanding that the District and Georgian Bay were part of an upper tier. So, the District hasn’t participated “not because we were uninterested - we weren’t invited.” She added that staff were “in shock” when they received the memorandum informing them of this misunderstanding.

She also emphasized the importance of the District being included in appointing a representative for the Township.

Koetsier explained that he thought the District has been included in past information and that nobody intentionally set out to exclude them. He added, “We’re trying to make this most efficient and what residents would expect if handled by the Township of Georgian Bay.”

District Chair, confirmed, “The responsibility lies with the District,” and that adding legislation to the situation will create policing around the province.