The District of Coldstream has been asked if it would fund restorative justice activities.

The District of Coldstream has been asked if it would fund restorative justice activities.

Council debates program

Coldstream wants more information before it can decide if it would join a restorative justice service

Coldstream isn’t taking any quick action on an alternative justice program.

Council decided Monday that it needs more information before it can decide if it would join a restorative justice service established by the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“We’re not saying no. We’re trying to educate ourselves and see if there is value to it,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

Through restorative justice, people who have committed an offence meet with the victim to talk about what happened and what can be done to correct the situation.  If possible, it is a way for the offender to remain out of jail and turn their life around.

Presently, funding for the Restorative Justice Society comes from the City of Vernon ($44,858) and the provincial government.

Coldstream provides a $1,000 grant annually and it’s not known how much a formal RDNO service would cost.

“This has the potential to expand into a very expensive program,” said Coun. Peter McClean.

“We’ve entered into functions at the regional district before. What is the benefit and need from our community?

In 2014, 73 per cent of the incidents handled by the society came from Vernon, 14 per cent were from Lumby, five per cent were from Armstrong and nine per cent were from elsewhere in the region.

According to the Restorative Justice Society, while a crime may have been committed in Vernon, the person involved may be from another community in the North Okanagan.

Representatives from the Restorative Justice Society and the City of Vernon will be asked to make a presentation to council.

“We need the people who want to set it up to come and explain it,” said Coun. Doug Dirk.