Although city staff have already identified the need for it, council passed a motion on June 6 directing administration to develop a business case for a new RCMP detachment building and add the project to the city's 10-year capital plan.
As the motion passed, “administration will prepare a capital charter that will identify the requirements and funding necessary to provide building accommodations for policing services operations through to 2060 and beyond,” according to a council backgrounder prepared by Aaron Giesbrecht, the city's manager of policing services.
In December council approved a $5 million borrowing bylaw for the renovation and expansion of St. Albert RCMP's current headquarters, 13 Maloney Place, as well as the Mounties' secondary location, Beaudry Place.
However, last month council heard the approved $5 million budget was no longer enough to cover the full cost of the project as planned because the original estimate was completed in 2021; therefore, the project needed to be scaled down.
As a result, city administration now estimates that 13 Maloney Place will only be able to support policing operations for another five years unless further renovations are completed.
As the Gazette previously reported, city planners have already calculated a very high-level cost estimate for a new RCMP headquarters: $30 million.
The initial estimate, Giesbrecht wrote in the June 6 report to council, does not factor in any funds that may be needed to purchase land.
“(This estimate) is based on known costs for a 2022 RCMP detachment build in Alberta along with some contingency,” Giesbrecht wrote.
In an interview, Coun. Ken MacKay said he put forward the motion to have a new RCMP building added to the 10-year capital plan in order to make sure the project goes through administration's prioritization matrix, which is an internal rating system that helps determine which city projects are more urgent than others.
“We still don't know which direction the provincial government is heading in relation to policing," McKay said. "Are they going to go to provincial police, are they going to encourage regional policing, are they going to encourage municipalities to look at their own (municipal police force)? Regardless, we're going to need a facility that will be able to work fairly soon and into the future.”
Although the project will be added to the 10-year capital plan, council will need to approve funding for the project when the time arises.