The decision about where to put a new detachment for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP just got less cut and dried.
After some consideration, however, we stand by our previous opinion, stated in these pages, that the potential site opposite the Cowichan Commons mall off Drinkwater Road is the better on, with the former school board offices a close second.
It’s going to be a tough decision though.
In the end we find the arguments about the desirability of building a police station on
higher ground to be the convincing factor.
The area around Beverly Street where a housing development and schools sit never should have been built on in the first place because it is a floodplain.
We saw the dangers of this up close and personal in 2009 when waters rose in the area causing significant damage.
Since then, a new dike has been built to (hopefully!) stop such a flood from happening again, but there are never any guarantees when it comes to the force of Mother Nature.
New building there should certainly be discouraged, and even the idea of taking over the school board’s old buildings needs careful consideration, though the fact that there are already structures on the site must be considered if it can defray some of the cost of the project.
We were also swayed by Councillor Al Siebring’s statement that the site off of Drinkwater should be used as agricultural land, but we have to consider that, since it is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve and is (as pointed out by Councillor John Koury) in a commercially developing area, that it seems unlikely it would end up being put to this purpose should council choose not to build an RCMP detachment there.
So, unless significant cost factors are brought to light that favour the old school board site, we say build the cop shop on higher ground where, in an emergency, it will remain out of the fray, as pointed out by Councillor Kate Marsh.
One thing is very clear. With two other viable options the idea of constructing a new building off of Beverly should be discarded. In the ALR and on a floodplain? Double whammy.
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