Skip to content

Old NABI building to be demolished, RCMP detachment scaled down

St. Albert city council approved changes to two ongoing city projects on May 16, which means a building downtown will soon be demolished and the planned $5 million renovation of the RCMP detachment will be scaled down.
Council has approved changes to two ongoing city projects. FILE/Photo

The former NABI building will soon be demolished and the planned $5 million renovation of the RCMP detachment will be scaled down, after changes approved by city council last week.

The downtown building, 13 Mission Ave., the eastern neighbour of Ecole Father Jan elementary school, will be demolished after sitting empty for almost two years. 

The 73-year-old building was last occupied by the Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI) up until the summer 2021 when council voted to stop funding NABI and directed administration to develop a plan to re-purpose the plot of land.

Demolishing the building should take about three months, a council backgrounder prepared ahead of the May 16 council meeting by the city's director of economic development, Mike Erickson, read.

On paper, the demolition will be funded through leftover budget previously assigned to the decommissioning of the former Fire Hall #1, which was located on Sir Winston Churchill Avenue across the road from Lions Park.

“There is 80.4 per cent of initial remaining funds in the (Fire Hall #1 decommissioning project budget) which will cover the costs associated with 13 Mission Ave. decommissioning in addition to completing the Fire Hall #1 decommissioning, including contingencies,” Erickson wrote. “Former (Fire Hall #1) remaining items include a review of gravel surface and other potential minor review changes once subdivision application is complete.”

The total budget for decommissioning the former fire hall was $852,500 and was approved as part of the 2022 budget.

“Administration anticipates returning to council later in 2023 to provide options on the redevelopment of 13 Mission Ave.,” Erickson's report states. 

“The intention of the decommissioning of 13 Mission Ave. is to avoid ongoing operational costs and staff time associated with the maintenance of the site and to prepare the site for future development.”

Council approved the demolition unanimously after no debate, and Coun. Sheena Hughes called it a “no brainer.”

RCMP renovation scaled back

On May 16 council also approved scaling back the renovation plans for the St. Albert RCMP detachment, despite passing a $7.5 million borrowing bylaw for the project this past December. 

The renovation and expansion of St. Albert's RCMP building, 13 Maloney Place, was originally approved by council as part of the 2022 budget, however, just the detachment's parking lot has been expanded to date.

When brought forward in 2021 the project was deemed necessary to address capacity restraints at the detachment.

Council heard on May 16 that due to rising construction costs, significant renovations to the second floor of the detachment as was planned is no longer financially feasible if the project is to stay within the $5 million budget. The borrowing bylaw was approved with $7.5 million in order to include a 50 per cent contingency, however administration would need council's approval to spend more than $5 million.

A council backgrounder prepared by Everett Cooke, the city's director of emergency services and current fire chief, says to complete the renovation as previously planned, administration would have needed to spend $5.6 million. However, the $5.6 million wouldn't include about $8.6 million in lifecycle maintenance that is planned for the building over the next few years, and would ideally be completed at the same time.

“Understanding the impacts that these updated costs will have on the city of St. Albert, administration has developed a new reduced scope (project charter) for council's consideration,” Cooke wrote. “The updated charter as attempted to keep the original ($5 million) budget intact while keeping the key high priority needs in place.”

“These key needs include safety and security upgrades to the cell block and front counter as well as take over and renovation of the (first) floor of Beaudry Place.”

Beaudry Place, another municipally owned building located on Boudreau Road, was already partially occupied by the RCMP, however Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) operates on the first floor. 

With the RCMP taking over the first floor of Beaudry Place, FCSS staff are being moved to St. Albert Place.

In order to accommodate FCSS staff in St. Albert Place, council approved the use of $350,000 from the city's capital reserve on May 16 to make specific renovations at city hall to allow FCSS to operate.

“The end result of the updated scope reduces the timeframe that the facilities will be able to accommodate policing operation needs from 2032 to approximately 2027,” Cooke's backgrounder says.

“This short-term accommodation plan allows council and administration to address the current and urgent needs of policing services today while building in some much-needed time to assess the future of policing service delivery for St. Albert and the longer-term building requirements.”

The budget for the reduced scope of the project, which will still be funded through long-term debt, is $4.65 million, council heard.

The scope change was approved unanimously.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

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


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks