Sunday , 7 March 2021

Cold Lake pursuing new RCMP detachment after concerns that expanding won’t suffice

The Cold Lake RCMP expansion project will be scrapped in favour of a building a new RCMP detachment after city council heard concerns from the mounties that the detachment would still not be big enough to house a full complement of police officers.

City council on Tuesday agreed to go ahead with developing a design of a new RCMP detachment with the money they’ve already set aside for the project.

The cost of a new building is $11.3 million, nearly $8 million more than the original 500 square metre expansion.

“We’re going to look at a new site. Whether it’s going to be on the existing property they own or somewhere else in Cold Lake,” said Mayor Craig Copeland on the Morning After.

“The idea was to sort of look at the existing building and build it out. There are issues with the ventilation with the cells. Right now the way it is, the RCMP just recently, even though we’ve been working with them for years on the expansion project on the existing site, looking down the road 20-30 years out, what we’re going to do with these phases isn’t going to do.”

In June, RCMP K Division met with City administration and presented a new space analysis, which suggested an additional space of almost 900 square metres due to changes to the RCMP design standards over the past three years.

City council notes said that the RCMP were strongly in favour of building a new detachment.

The City has allocated nearly $3.7 million over the past three years for the project.

“The beauty of this is the RCMP will give you a lease payment back. Say for example, the building costs $10 million, the RCMP will sort of pay their fair share of the project over time. We’ll get some money back,” said Copeland.

Cellblocks still need work

However, some of the current detachment’s issues have to be addressed soon.

The ventilation within the cellblocks is still a priority and needs fixing regardless of building a new detachment.

That comes with a $600,000 price tag.

“We’re going to go in and fix. Unfortunately, when the RCMP move out of that building, we call it throw-away money because it’s going to be pretty tough to put someone else in that building that requires cells. What will happen is when we move the RCMP out of that building it will come back to the municipality,” said Copeland.

The project will come up in future city council budget deliberations.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.