It’s estimated that the Municipality of North Cowichan will have to borrow approximately $40 million to construct a new building for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.
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.
That means of the $3 million a year in debt payments on the loan for the next 20 years, the municipality’s taxpayers would pay $1.2 million a year.
The borrowing has already been reflected in the municipality’s five-year capital plan, with property tax increases in 2020 estimated to be 5.81 per cent and 4.97 per cent in 2021 before dropping back to 2.63 per cent in 2022.
Frame said 2.3 per cent of the total projected tax increase in 2020 would be directed towards the debt for the new building, and 1.2 per cent of the increase in 2021 before the payments become part of the regular budget in subsequent years.
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.
North Cowichan had agreed in principle earlier this month to proceed with plans for the new building on its five-acre property bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road.
The facility will bring together the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment, Forensic Identification Services, South Island Traffic Services, and First Nations Policing under one roof.
The project is still subject to federal approval and the signing of a new occupancy agreement with the municipality.
The existing North Cowichan/Duncan detachment on Canada Avenue is well past the end of its life.
The building has had ongoing issues with rodents, leaking, flooding, and lack of adequate space.
As well as being in deteriorating condition, the current detachment building is unable to hold the number of officers, prisoners and support staff to meet the needs of a growing community.
Mayor Al Siebring said once preliminary design and estimated construction costs are confirmed, North Cowichan will seek elector assent to borrow the money to construct the building.
“At this time, it is anticipated that elector assent may be sought before the end of 2019, but that timing is approximate,” he said in a previous interview.