PSIT operation postponement upheld

The controversial Public Safety Inspection Team’s (PSIT) operations will remain on hold until late May.Mission council deferred the team’s work for 30 days on Jan. 24 (with the exception of referrals from the RCMP) until a review into the bylaw governing it is complete. At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor James Atebe provided an update and asked council to uphold the postponement until the necessary bylaw amendments are made.The review is about 95 per cent complete, said Atebe, and a report will be ready for the March 7 council meeting, with the document posted to the district’s website by March 3.Coun. Jenny Stevens caught council by surprise when she also asked PSIT to not take on police referrals unless criminal charges will be pursued.”If police are not confident in charges, I don’t think we should be imposing an inspection,” Stevens explained. “I would rather see 10 guilty go free than one innocent charged.”Neither council nor PSIT instructs police on when to lay charges, and PSIT only enters because of building safety concerns, argued other councillors, who wanted to hear from RCMP.Charges aren’t always laid because police can’t establish who’s responsible for the grow op, said Coun. Paul Horn. “PSIT does an inspection based on the BC Building Code.”After calling for two recesses due to disruptive behaviour from members of the public, councillors defeated Stevens’ amendment and unanimously agreed to continue deferring operations until May 24.A third recess had to be taken during question period when a man who had been asked to leave the meeting earlier returned and took over the microphone. Despite several requests from the chair, the individual remained put and police were called.When councillors returned to the table 15 minutes later, most of the audience had left and council continued with the remainder of the agenda.