The results are in and the Municipality of North Cowichan has approved a bylaw to borrow the necessary funding to construct a new RCMP detachment.
Through an Alternative Approval Process, which ran from June 12 to July 14, less than five percent of the 1,234 voters were opposed to the new detachment, a far cry from the ten percent needed to force reconsideration.
The price tag will be approximately $48 million dollars, up from the initial estimates in the ballpark of $41 million and Mayor Al Siebring explains the reason for the discrepancy.
“We went to a detailed architectural estimate where we brought in the experts and said, ‘this is what we need, these are the facilities, this is the furniture and the fixtures and the equipment and all the other stuff that’s included,” said Siebring. “Once we drilled down and took a detailed look at it, it turned out that it was more money than initially envisioned.”
Council approved a bylaw to borrow the $48 million dollars and Siebring said the integrated detachment will have many benefits over the existing one.
“It’s an integrated detachment now, everything is centered into one place,” said Siebring. “Centralization for this kind of service is always good because people know where to go, it will certainly help that way. We’re also bringing in a Forensic Crime Analyst Unit from Nanaimo, which we periodically use and we have to bring those folks in from Nanaimo, that will now be stationed here as well.”
Sixty-percent of the officers at the detachment are paid for by the province and the remaining 40 percent is paid for by the municipality, meaning the Province is on the hook for 60 percent of the mortgage.
Siebring noted that some residents were not happy about the municipality using the Alternative Approval Process, but it cost $5,000 dollars, as opposed to a referendum which would have cost upwards of $60,000.
Construction is expected to commence next January.