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City advances borrowing bylaw for new RCMP detachment

Fort St. John city council gave first three readings Monday to a bylaw authorizing the borrowing of up to $22.75 million for the building of a new RCMP detachment.
rcmpdetachment
The RCMP detachment in Fort St. John.

Fort St. John city council gave first three readings Monday to a bylaw authorizing the borrowing of up to $22.75 million for the building of a new RCMP detachment.

The borrowing will cover the upfront costs of the RCMP's share of the construction, to be repaid in annual lease payments over 20 years when the building is operational.

The latest cost estimate for the new detachment is $51,434,379, "based on a post-disaster, net-zero, three-storey mass timber building with a single-storey concrete cellblock and 159 new flat surface parking stalls."

But that's still a loose estimate, according to report from corporate services manager David Joy, who notes the accuracy of the March 16 estimate could be up to 18% higher or lower than that.

Costs for the new detachment could be as high as $60.6 million or as low as $43.5 million.

"It is an order of magnitude estimate with significant design and pricing allowances for items not yet determined," Joy writes.

The RCMP lease payments cover its 37.5% share of the project.

Financing for the rest will come from capital cash reserves and Peace River Agreement funding from the province, and the city has also applied to the Green Municipal Fund for a grant of up to $1.5 million for new net-zero energy municipal buildings.

"There will be no related tax burden for the City's property owners," Joy writes.

The borrowing is first subject to approval by the Inspector of Municipalities, and then by electors. If 10% submit opposition in an upcoming approval process, the city will be required to go to referendum.

The new detachment is being built at 10715 100 Street next to the existing detachment, and would include both municipal and provincial officers.

The existing detachment is now more than 35 years old and nearing the end of its service life and is too small to meet the policing needs of the city. 

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.