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

Beloved Chemainus resident dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in the community in two short years

Sudden death leaves Lake Cowichan’s Shanahan family of five children without a father

GoFundMe campaign set up by wife Tiffany’s friend to help during crisis

From theatres to patios, Vancouver Island Symphony plays through the pandemic

A series of pop-up concerts are taking place in various locations from Saltair to Comox

Webinars provide emotional support, training for caregivers

Following the webinars, recordings of the sessions will be available to watch

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Most Read