City of Fort St. John in phase 1 of process to address aging RCMP detachment

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John is weighing options when it comes to the nearly 40-year-old RCMP detachment.

The City is currently in the 1st phase of 3 when it comes to a decision.

Wally Ferris, General Manager of Community Services with the City of Fort St. John says they have 2 options they are looking at.

“There is a project on the go to look at feasibility, to prepare a feasibility analysis of whether or not we should renovate and expand the RCMP building that we have or build a new one. That land was acquired with that purpose in mind.”

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There was a public meeting held at City Hall last night at 6:00 p.m. and while there was not very much attendance, Ferris says the purpose was to

“The purpose of the public meeting was just to make a contiguous lot of the 2 parcels that were there. So whether or not we build new or we renovate and expand the existing building, we are going to require that land.”

The project is required to go through 3 phases.

“The project is a 3 phase project. We’re in phase 1 right now and phase 1 is a feasibility analysis so we hired a architectural firm and functional programmers to go and come up and understand what the building requirements are right now, what the standards are for RCMP and what the difference is between what we have existing and what we should have so that is quite a process alone.”

Ferris says there will be a couple of options presented to Council. One is to take the existing building a renovate and expand it to meet the RCMP’s needs or look at building a new facility. Those will be the basic options presented to City Council as well as costs for each option.

The City is estimating that the report with the information will go to Council late in January.

Phase 2 will happen in 2017 according to Ferris.

“As a municipality in British Columbia, if you are going to finance a project and borrow money and the expansion and renovation of an RCMP building or the building of a new building is very expensive, we don’t have that type of money laying around. If we are going to borrow money , we will have to go through a referendum or a referral process. 2017 is more around that process and getting that process through the public so the public gets to weigh in on that.”

Phase 3 will consist of designing and constructing whatever option is chosen.

“The 3rd phase would be, if we get approval to move forward through that previous process, the 3rd phase is design and construction of the project which would probably start near the end of 2017 as well as 2018/2019. It would take some time to build out so you have to go through a detailed design and go through construction.”

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