Lauretta Lockwood (E-Comm call taker) explains the dispatch system to Victoria Police Chief Del Manak at the new South Island 911 E-Comm Centre in Saanich. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Greater Victoria’s new $13 million E-Comm 9-1-1 call centre up and running

Saanich located building handles 911 calls to 15 police agencies

The new $13 million South Island 911/Police Dispatch Centre held a grand opening in Saanich on Wednesday.

The earthquake proof CRD building has a generator and is designed to act as a post-disaster centre.

All 911 calls are directed there for Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria police departments and for 11 RCMP detachments in the central and southern Vancouver Island region. Each transitioned to the centre on a staggered schedule since Jan. 1 with Victoria Police phasing in on Jan. 22, Saanich and Oak Bay on Jan. 29, and other agencies, such as the South Island RCMP and Central Saanich on Feb. 5.

The CRD purpose-built the 1,200-square-metre building while private contractor EComm – a cost recovery corporation – operates call taking and dispatch services. There are currently 70 people in the building, most of them call takers or dispatchers, and most of them moved over from dispatch at previous police departments.

“It was a steady transition, a lot of detailed planning went into the project leading up to [each launch],” said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm spokesperson.

Any calls for fire or ambulance are rerouted, though the building has room for expansion and could host fire dispatch.

From its opening in January to the end of February, the centre received more than 9,600 911 calls. E-Comm is required to answer 95 per cent of its 911 calls in five seconds or less though the actual average 911 call-answer time is one second.

The centre also handles non-emergency calls with a target to answer 80 per cent of calls in three minutes or less (South Island E-Comm answered 13,803 non-emergency calls from Jan. 22 to March 1) and averaged one minute, 21 seconds.

So far 84 per cent of all non-emergency calls have been answered in three minutes or less and 90 per cent of all non-emergency calls answered in five minutes or less.

If needed, the South Island Centre can send all calls to Vancouver where it has another 540 employees at its E-Comm site.

READ ALSO: Saanich site would answer call for centralized 911 dispatch

“Consolidating dispatch services and joining forces to operate out of a shared, state-of-the-art facility will improve coordination between agencies so they can better respond to large emergencies that cross municipal boundaries, improve service to the public and increase officer safety,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, who visited on Wednesday.

Dealing with calls that cross municipal borders and managing those incidents through three call centres was inefficient, said Victoria Police Chief Del Manak.

“Having a regional emergency communications and dispatch centre that provides us with shared resources for overall public safety is such a positive step.”

To see three call centres blended together creates outstanding efficiencies, said Chief Superintendent Sean Sullivan, Island District RCMP Commander.

“It’s going to definitely improve the service to Vancouver Island residents.”

The 11 Central/Southern Vancouver Island RCMP detachments are the Integrated Roadside Safety Unit, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan, North Cowichan/Duncan, Outer Gulf Islands (includes Pender, Galiano and Mayne), Salt Spring Island, Shawnigan Lake, Sidney/North Saanich, Sooke, South Island Traffic Services, West Shore (includes City of Langford, City of Colwood, Town of View Royal, District of Metchosin, District of Highlands, Songhees First Nation and Esquimalt First Nation).

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Renowned Oak Bay floral arranger debuts first book

Instagram star Christin Geall combines photography, floral arrangements

UPDATED: Bear spotted walking on McKenzie Avenue sidewalk in Saanich

Urban sightings prompt warnings from Saanich Police Department

University of Victoria parking lot hosts drive-in movies

The Breakfast Club, Hook and The Life Aquatic shown on a 40-foot screen

Province buys Paul’s Motor Inn to house Victoria’s homeless population

Inn is the second hotel the province has purchased to support vulnerable community

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read