Artist’s rendering of proposed new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP building. (Photo submitted)

Artist’s rendering of proposed new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP building. (Photo submitted)

Group forms in opposition to spending on new RCMP building

Flaws in the voting process identified by North Cowichan residents

Local citizens have formed a group, with the express purpose of urging North Cowichan residents to oppose the proposed borrowing of $48 million for a new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP building.

Among the group are former North Cowichan councillor Joyce Behnsen and Allen Willcocks, a former quantity surveyor with the federal government.

Willcocks has extensive expertise in budgeting and expenditure-control for the construction of RCMP and other federal buildings. He is of the firm opinion the proposed cost of the new building is completely out of line, according to a press release put out by the group.

Willcocks notes the cost of the recently completed RCMP building in Prince George was around $700 per square foot, even after allowing for cost escalation since the building was completed. This compares to a figure closer to $1,000 per square foot for the North Cowichan building.

Willcocks also pointed out the North Cowichan building is similar to one recently approved for Fort St. John, designed by the same architect. He wonders if the municipality could have driven a better bargain for the architect’s fee, with a building of such similar design.

In addition, the group is strongly opposed to the municipality’s process of gaining approval for the proposed borrowing. The Alternative Approval Process requires residents to send a completed Elector Response Form to the municipality if in opposition to the project.

Related: AAP moves ahead for new RCMP detachment building

The group regards the system as highly undemocratic since people are not only voting in favour if they don’t use the form, but those who do use the form lose the right to a secret vote.

Members of the group say they’ve heard from people who are genuinely afraid to send in their forms for fear of future reprisals.

North Cowichan distributed the Voter Response Form to households, but only provided one per home, instead of one per voter. Voters with ad block at the post office would not have received a form. The municipality is not legally required to send forms to voters, only to have them available upon request.

The group wants people to understand voters must obtain further copies of the form to ensure each voter is counted. Forms can be downloaded at https://www.northcowichan.ca/assets/LegalNotices/6. Elector Response Form (RCMP Building).pdf.

The group’s preferred resolution to the process would be to cancel or postpone the voting until a more equitable system is put into place. Failing that, the group would like to strongly encourage voters to get a copy of the form, complete it and send it in to the municipality.

Anyone interested in contacting the group for further information can email Willcocks at allenwillcocks@gmail.com.

Municipal GovernmentPolice

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Duncan area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sorting food to deliver to community members isolating due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Back row from left: Philomena Wilson, Sosefina Aleck, Ethan Wilson and Lucetta Wilson. In front is Kennedy Aleck. (Submitted)
“Let’s share a meal even if I can’t sit with you”: Cowichan woman’s food drive helps feed members in isolation

Positive response to missing ceremonies and rising racism benefits dozens of households

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. [CDC]
Lake Cowichan daycare closes for 10 days due to COVID-19 exposure

A client at Creative Angels Daycare came in contact with someone who tested positive

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read