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Colwood council delays vote to move forward on RCMP building expansion

Council voted to wait until it hears more about the proposal, also involving Langford and View Royal
Colwood council has delayed a vote on whether to move to the next stage of a proposed project to greatly expand the West Shore RCMP building in Langford over concerns council has been provided too little information on why the project is being proposed as it is. (Black Press Media file photo)

Colwood Council has delayed a vote on moving forward with a new and expanded West Shore RCMP building over concerns about a lack of information on the project being shared with council.

Council was to vote on Monday (Jan. 9) on whether to provide $291,720 to advance the project to the validation stage and appoint Mayor Doug Kobayashi and chief administrative officer Robert Earl to a Joint Police Facilities Steering Committee. The committee would include the mayors and CAOs of the Town of View Royal, and the Cities of Langford and Colwood to oversee the project

Several councillors raised concerns over what they felt was a lack of information justifying the decision to grow the detachment at its current Langford location rather than moving elsewhere, leading Coun. Cynthia Day to make a motion to delay the vote. She wants the RCMP and Colliers, a firm hired to produce a preliminary plan for the project, to present the details of their report to council and answer questions. Council approved Day’s motion to delay, with Coun. Dean Jantzen as the only dissenting vote on the seven-person council.

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In his opening presentation to council outlining the project and why staff were recommending council approve moving to the validation stage of the project, Earl said the need for a larger RCMP building stems from projected population growth on the West Shore, which will require more RCMP officers.

The existing detachment building – actually two buildings connected together, with one having been built in the 1960s and the other in the 1990s as an addition – would not provide enough space to accommodate the increased number of officers and staff.

Earl said the nearly $300,000 budget request would be pulled from city reserves held specifically for upgrades and maintenance of the detachment, and would constitute Colwood’s proportional share of the $1.2 million required to move the project to the validation stage.

As the building is co-owned by Colwood, Langford, and View Royal and provided to the RCMP as part of the communities’ policing contracts, all three municipal governments are contributing to the project.

Should it be approved, the project would be expected to total $82.4 million, plus or minus 25 per cent, with Colwood’s share coming to $20.1 million.

A feasibility study and preliminary plan produced by Colliers determined a building size of 92,417 square feet together with 2.5 acres of parking would be needed in order to accommodate the next 20 years of growth, with opportunities for extra space to be leased out until needed in order to help recover some of the costs.

The project would see the older section of the building demolished and replaced, and the newer section of the building renovated, with neighbouring properties purchased to accommodate the expansion.

No schedule was provided for when Colliers and the RCMP will be able to meet with council, however the intention is for such a meeting to happen as soon as possible, possibly in a special council meeting, as Langford and View Royal councils are expected to hold similar votes on their share of the project by the end of January.

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