North Cowichan finance director Mark Frame. (File photo)

North Cowichan looks to green alternatives in new RCMP building

Municipality applies for design funding from FCM

North Cowichan wants its new RCMP detachment building to be as energy-efficient as possible.

The municipality has applied for funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund to help pay for a feasibility study to determine the most energy-efficient way to construct the new approximately $40-million facility.

RELATED STORY: COUNCIL CHOOSES AAP OVER REFERENDUM TO GET APPROVAL ON NEW RCMP DETACHMENT SPENDING

Council decided at its meeting on July 17 that North Cowichan will apply for a study grant of up to 50 per cent of $175,000 from the GMF, with the municipality’s share of the study coming from its Climate Action and Energy Plan funds.

Mark Frame, North Cowichan’s finance manager, said in a staff report that designing the new RCMP detachment will require studies to determine what level of energy efficiency is appropriate.

“There will be an analysis of up-front costs compared to ongoing operating savings,” he said. “There will be a cost to get to net zero (energy performance). The feasibility study will help determine the cost and what options are available.”

RELATED STORY: COST SAVINGS SOUGHT ON NEW COWICHAN RCMP DETACHMENT

Frame said options that may be considered include advanced HVAC systems, on-site energy generation like solar and geothermal, and energy-efficient components like windows and insulation.

He said North Cowichan is in the process of assembling a design team for the new detachment project.

“An energy consultant has been hired who will be investigating the feasibility of achieving escalating levels of energy efficiency,” he said.

“The energy consultant will be a key part of the design team.”

Frame said once the study is complete, the municipality can also apply for another GMF grant for the construction of energy-efficient facilities.

“This grant provides low-cost loans of up to $5 million, with 15 per cent of the loan as grant,” he said.

“To apply for this loan, you have to have completed the feasibility study. Should the feasibility study indicate that net zero is achievable, North Cowichan could apply for the new construction grant.”

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.

The facility will be a hub detachment that will bring together the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment, Forensic Identification Services, South Island Traffic Services, First Nations Policing and some services of the Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment under one roof.

While the municipality will be responsible for borrowing the money, if the project proceeds as planned, 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 project is still subject to federal approval and the signing of a new occupancy agreement with the municipality.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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