City Council carried an administration report in yesterday’s Committee of the Whole meeting to approve Facilities Maintenance Intervention and Capital Expenditures Planning, but there may be some more conversations to be had before decisions are made.
Specifically, City Manager Dianne Hunter said there are ‘more questions than answers right now’ regarding what should be done with the state of the local RCMP detachment’s building.
In 2014, among a variety of recommendations, Cornerstone Consulting suggested the building be upgraded, to bring it from 23,500 to 43,000 square feet — which will meet the detachment’s needs until 2034.
Mayor Lori Ackerman pointed out that a statistic notes Fort St. John’s population growth will continue to skyrocket until about 2040, when it is expected to plateau, and acknowledged that lack of space may become an issue once again within 18 years time.
The RCMP detachment building is the most expensive public facility the City is responsible for, and this project would have $250,000 allocated in the 2016 budget, should it go forward.
Mayor and Council made it clear they would like to look at all factors — such a projected population growth, staffing resources — before making a decision.
Another possibility on the table is looking at an entirely new building, as the current detachment’s facility was built in 1982 and is getting older and older.
With this in mind, staff have to decide and weigh the pros and cons of upgrading the current building against creating a new one altogether, when population growth is still on the horizon for at least a few decades.
The arrival of a new officer is also in the tentative 2016 Operating budget.