Say no to AAP for new RCMP detachment

The project has morphed into a large regional detachment!

Say no to AAP for new RCMP detachment

North Cowichan’s planned RCMP detachment building is now more than double the expected size, and at $49 million, is well more than double the originally touted cost.

The project has morphed into a large regional detachment! The building design calls for a three-storey, 50,000 square foot building with 142 parking spaces to be built on Van Jaarsveld’s farm fields directly behind Walmart on Ford Road and Drinkwater Road with a left turn out.

North Cowichan taxpayers purchased the front three acres for $1 million in 2014. Three months ago in March, council purchased, for $1.2 million an additional two acres including Van Jaarsveld senior’s home to accommodate parking, bringing the total price to $2.2 million for five acres containing a house. Is that house for the homeless and is the additional land to accommodate a tent city?

This is historically productive farmland. Councillor Al Siebring, now mayor, was quoted in the News Leader Pictorial on March 7, 2014 as saying, “My main concern about the Ford Road site is agricultural use. It’s some of the best farmland in the municipality. This isn’t my ideal site but we have to move forward.”

There are more suitable locations and better available plans for the farm fields.

Why should North Cowichan taxpayers pay for an RCMP facility, of federal and provincial jurisdiction, that’s being expanded to include Forensics Identification Services, South Island Traffic Services, City of Duncan, North Cowichan, and Indigenous policing?

The municipality of North Cowichan has set aside taxes as an appropriated surplus of $1,050,000 from a $2 million RCMP Reserve Fund to add to a $48 million loan, if approved by the Municipal Finance Authority.

Referred to as the ‘Hub Detachment, Integrated Detachment’, as a regional detachment should it be financed and built by North Cowichan taxpayers to be repaid in part – 60 per cent — by the RCMP and the province?

North Cowichan’s debt as of 2018 was $20,407,420. In 2019 that figure reached $19,012,952 with debt interest at $1,014,571.

The $48 million loan request is on council’s June 3 agenda under North Cowichan/Duncan Integrated RCMP Facility Authorization Bylaw No. 3787, 2020. The June 3 council meeting is to approve the petition for an Alternative Approval Process (AAP). That AAP is the public’s chance to support or reject borrowing $48 million for the proposed new detachment.

It’s all happening very quickly. The 30-day AAP process spans June 12, to July 14, 2020.

Elector Response Forms are available at the municipal hall. Online responses are available starting June 4.

The total number of North Cowichan’s eligible electors is 26,916 of which 10 per cent, or 2,692, are required to defeat the proposed new RCMP detachment. Say No to the AAP to borrow $48 million for this now-regional, expanded RCMP detachment.

Joyce Behnsen

Duncan

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