It’s one of the big three capital projects in the Cowichan Valley and work on the new RCMP detachment is moving forward.

North Cowichan council has issued a pair of contracts to KMBR Architects Planners Incorporated in the amount of $1,053,000 dollars and to Unitech Construction for $875,000 dollars.

Mayor Al Siebring said these are the most significant contracts.

“These are the two biggest contracts in terms of the overall preparation for the process,” said Siebring. “KMBR Architects Planners got a contract for just over one million dollars. They’re managing the entire project from a design perspective.”

“The second contract went to Unitech Construction, they’re going to actually do the construction management services, looking after the sub-trades,” added Siebring.

The top two capital projects are the replacement of the Cowichan District Hospital, estimated to cost around $600 million dollars, and the replacement of Cowichan Secondary, which was estimated to cost in the area of $90 million dollars on the last check.

So, how will North Cowichan pay for this new detachment, estimated to cost $41 million dollars?

“That’s a tremendous amount of money, we have to borrow it all, but we do get about 60 percent of that refunded to us by the feds and the province because they occupy a little over half the space with their members,” said Siebring.

He added, “While we’re borrowing the whole thing and we’re responsible to pay it all back, more than half of those payments over 20 years will come through the lease agreement with the feds and the province. The other 40 percent will go on the property tax bill in North Cowichan.”

Siebring said 2020 and 2021 are going to be major tax hits for North Cowichan residents and he anticipates that the cumulative increase in those two years will be somewhere in the ballpark of 2.5 percent.

This increase is before factoring in any other budget items.

The hope is that shovels will be in the ground early in 2020.