North Cowichan council will proceed with the alternative approval process to get voter consent to build the proposed $40 million RCMP detachment and residents may be able to submit their feedback electronically following a decision made at a special meeting April 15.
Council made the unanimous decision at a special council meeting April 15 after a discussion was had on whether to proceed with the project as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“I think there is some concern about the costs of the RCMP building given what we’re going through,” Coun. Christopher Justice said.
Mindful of the costs, North Cowichan CAO Ted Swabey said if North Cowichan doesn’t get to work building it, the RCMP could conceivably build it and send them the bill. At least if North Cowichan builds it, they have some idea of the numbers, he said.
What’s more, “if we don’t do this we are probably delaying the project for upwards of a year,” Swabey said, noting the already deplorable working conditions at the Canada Avenue detachment.
“We’re really at the point where we owe it to the employees…and it’s time to get on with providing a public safety space that is adequate and I think the time has come,” he said.
Council now needs to devise a plan to get the word out in this new uncharted social distancing world.
The municipality had decided in a council meeting on July 17, 2019 to use the alternative approval process to determine if the electorate wanted to borrow the money for the new detachment.
An AAP requires that 10 per cent or more of the eligible voters in a municipality must sign and submit response forms in opposition to the project to stop the borrowing process from proceeding.
If 10 per cent of voters in North Cowichan sign forms in opposition to the project, the municipality would then have to choose to either hold a referendum within 80 days, or council may put the project on hold and consider alternatives.