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Council approves $7.5 million borrowing bylaw for RCMP detachment expansion

Council has approved a borrowing bylaw for $7.5 million for the renovation and expansion of St. Albert's RCMP detachment.
The renovation and expansion of St. Albert's RCMP detachment will also lead to the temporary displacement of Family and Community Support Services. FILE/Photo

Council unanimously approved a $7.5 million borrowing bylaw on Dec. 20 for the renovation and expansion of St. Albert's RCMP detachment, Maloney Place.

As The Gazette previously reported in October, the project was approved in the 2022 budget and seeks to address storage and parking limitations at the detachment, and additional space to accommodate staffing growth in the future.

Earlier this year, $1.4 million from the city's municipal land and facilities reserve was used to finance the initial phase of the project, which was to upgrade the parking lot at Maloney Place. With the borrowing bylaw now approved, that $1.4 million will be reimbursed through the borrowed amount.

In a council backgrounder prepared by a city finance manager, Brenda Barclay, it states that once the project is completed, St. Albert's RCMP will also take over the first floor of Beaudry Place, another municipally-owned building located on Bellerose Drive.

"This project is required to ensure appropriate accommodation for human resource and policing program growth within policing services and to ensure compliance with the municipal police service agreement with Public Safety Canada," Barclay wrote.

The current limitations of Maloney Place, Barclay wrote, include safety and security issues, limited parking, and "total square footage shortfalls."

The backgrounder says that approximately 8,250 square feet of additional space is required to meet expected needs in 2029. The renovation and take over of the first floor of Beaudry Place will create 11,200 additional square feet for St. Albert's RCMP.

The first floor of Beaudry Place is currently the home for Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), a provincially and municipally funded agency that helps deliver social service programs locally. 

In an email, city spokesperson Pamela Osborne says the RCMP expansion project means FCSS will be temporary displaced, although a new location for the agency has not been decided yet. St. Albert Community Village and Food Bank, which is also located in Beaudry Place, will not be affected by the project, Osborne said.

"The above plan is a balance between addressing the very real need for police accommodations with the fiscal restraint that is expected in these times," Barclay wrote in the backgrounder.

Council discussion on the borrowing bylaw was brief during the Dec. 20 council meeting, although Coun. Sheena Hughes and Coun. Mike Killick spoke about a tour that council took through Maloney Place to see first hand the need for renovating the building. 

"This is a city resource that we have to acknowledge and that we have to take care of and maintain," Hughes said. "There's two buildings almost being gutted and redone to improve the situation for those people that have to work there."

Killick added that there is no doubt the project is necessary.

"It's money well spent and we'll end up with a much better functioning building with space for our police and support services to grow into and address some of the very apparent short falls," Killick said. 

"It just became so evident when you walk around that building that it needs these kinds of upgrades and this will be a great investment for the City of St. Albert."

The project's budget is $5 million, and the additional $2.5 million represents a 50 per cent contingency amount to cover potential unexpected costs. 

However, council heard that since the approved project charter only had a budget of $5 million, any additional spending on the project will need to be approved by council.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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