Manitoba Justice has confirmed plans to tentatively extend a policing agreement for the town of Plum Coulee through 2021.
This comes as good news to council for the Municipality of Rhineland as the current arrangement, along with accompanying provincial funding, was set to expire December 31, 2019.
"Negotiations have concluded and we just got formal notification that we're going to continue our current arrangement with Manitoba Justice," said Reeve Don Wiebe.
The future of the deal, which was struck prior to the town's merger with the R.M. of Rhineland, was uncertain due to municipal amalgamation legislation that went into effect in 2015. The legislation stipulates only one police entity can service an entire municipality and that any additional policing agreements in a municipality would have to be closed out in five years. The Municipality of Rhineland is currently policed by the RCMP with the exception of Plum Coulee, which had been using Altona Police Services for several years prior to amalgamation.
Wiebe added however, the full extension of the agreement hinges on the results of the Province's upcoming review of the Municipal Police Act.
"We have no idea what other implications could be formed for municipalities such as Rhineland so we're going to wait and see what happens there, but this at least gives a certainty while we're waiting," he said.
Wiebe was asked if regional policing would be a part of the discussions during the review process.
"That may be, it's hard to speculate. We haven't seen the parameters of that review yet," he said. "There seems to be, from doing just a little bit of research, there's a host of arrangements and different levels of service, (and) to have some coordination that might make some sense."