North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring hopes to see cost savings in the construction of the Valley’s new RCMP detachment by collaborating with other communities that are building similar sized detachments in Canada. (File photo)

Cost savings sought on new Cowichan RCMP detachment

Collaboration with other communities could be the key

North Cowichan’s mayor is looking to save some money on the construction of a new building for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.

Al Siebring said he has begun discussions with another mayor from a Canadian community that is currently planning on building a RCMP station that is almost identical in size to one that will serve the Cowichan Valley.

He said they both agreed that there may be some synergies and savings in trying to work together on the projects.

“To that end, that mayor has committed to trying to get me a copy of the latest staff report from that jurisdiction (on the issue),” Siebring said.

“My hope is that this kind of collaboration could save us considerable dollars in both the design and perhaps even the acquisition phase of the project.”

Siebring said he’s not yet ready to identify the mayor and the community because the collaboration could potentially involve some legal language and issues.

It was estimated in March that North Cowichan will have to borrow approximately $40 million to construct the new detachment building.

RELATED STORY: NEW NORTH COWICHAN/DUNCAN RCMP BUILDING ESTIMATED TO COST $40 MILLION

While the municipality will be responsible for borrowing the money, if the project proceeds as planned, finance manager Mark Frame said the RCMP and the province have agreed to pick up 60 per cent of the tab for the building, with North Cowichan responsible for the rest.

The detachment building was originally scheduled to be replaced in 2012, at a cost at the time of approximately $23 million, but has faced multiple delays.

RELATED STORY: NEW NORTH COWICHAN/DUNCAN DETACHMENT BUILDING FINALLY BACK ON TRACK

North Cowichan had agreed in principle in March to proceed with plans for the new building on its five-acre property bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road.

Once preliminary design and estimated construction costs are confirmed, North Cowichan will seek elector assent to borrow the money to construct the building.

Siebring said it’s been estimated that the design phase of the project could cost approximately $1.5 million, but its possible those costs be shared between the two communities if the collaboration proceeds.

He said economies of scale could also come into play in terms of the equipment that would need to be purchased for the two detachments.

RELATED STORY: SHAWNIGAN LAKE TO KEEP RCMP DETACHMENT

“For example, video surveillance equipment for 10 holding cells in two detachments could be cheaper on scale than just purchasing the equipment for five cells in one detachment,” Siebring said.

Asked why such collaborations between communities building similar sized RCMP detachments in Canada are not already common, Siebring said he has been asking the same question for five years.

“The response I got was that RCMP detachments are not like Tim Hortons in which each outlet is a cookie-cutter model of the rest,” he said. “Of course, RCMP detachments will be customized to meet the distinctive needs of each community, but they can have almost the same footprints, general designs and layouts. We could potentially save millions of dollars. We’re hoping to know if it’s doable within a month,” Siebring added.

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