Ucluelet businesses want Sgt. Swann to stay

Sgt. Jeff Swann is fighting for his right to stay in Ucluelet and Ucluelet’s business community has joined him in the ring.

Swann is facing a forced transfer in July due to the RCMP’s limited duration posting policy.

The executive director of Ucluelet’s chamber of commerce Sally Mole noted Swann has overseen a roughly 70 per cent reduction in crime since arriving in Ucluelet in 2009 and said the local business community has a keen interest in keeping the good times rolling.

“They’ve seen the crime reduction in town, which directly affects their business,” Mole said.

“Part of the chamber’s role is to advocate for things that are good for business and obviously the crime stats are huge; dramatic changes have been made and it’s appreciated by the businesses.”

She said Swann’s policing efforts have helped make Ucluelet a more attractive destination for incoming businesses and residents

“As someone who’s moved to the community, that was huge for me: the safety and the comfortableness of the community,” she said.

“This community really did change, so that makes it more appealing for people to move here which impacts business…vandalism was a big concern for people, especially on Peninsula Rd.—it was in the newspaper fairly regularly—(and) that’s pretty much disappeared.”

She added Swann and his team have consistently supported community events like the Edge-to-Edge Marathon and Ukee Days and that this support is not as common in other communities. 

“We’ve had such great involvement by our local RCMP through Sgt. Swann’s leadership and that doesn’t always happen,” she said. “It’s been my experience that it’s not always forthcoming, whether it’s ability or willingness, but we’ve been really well supported by the local RCMP.”

A quick Westerly walkabout through Ucluelet businesses backed up Mole’s claims.

“I support Sgt. Swann. He’s a definite asset to our town, he has kept it safe over the time he’s been here and it would be very sad to see him go,” said Billy Payne of Murray’s Grocery.

“Sgt. Swann has done great things around the community. He’s very involved in the community and if he wants to stay why not just let him stay,” asked Carla Anderson of Ocean Pet Supplies.

Anderson said Swann’s RCMP have a valued presence in the community and are routinely seen out and about speaking with locals and visitors.

“It’s a valuable asset for our community to have RCMP members who are invested in us,” she said.

“It means they’re going to take things more seriously and they’re going to deal with things on a personal level because they live here, they love it here, and they want to make here a better place.”

Kerry Roper of the Ucluelet Liquor Store said the confidence she has in her local police allows her to feel comfortable both at work and as a mother.

“I feel supported by them,” she said. “It’s safer in town and my kid can wander around and not be scared.”

Mole submitted a letter on behalf of the chamber last week asking the RCMP to reconsider its plan to force Swann out of Ucluelet and she is encouraging locals to write in as well. 

Letters can be submitted to Mole at Ucluelet’s chamber office—1604 Peninsula Road—where they will be forwarded to the relevant bodies.

Anyone looking to join the fight to save Swann can contact Mole at the chamber office: 250-726-4641.

 

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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