Prince Rupert RCMP and the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWO) will both be relocating in a bi-lateral land deal announced at the City Council meeting on Oct. 5.
In what the City’s Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben described to Council as a partial land swap, the city has acquired the parcel where the JWO currently house their worship services and activities.
“City staff has worked to secure a new location suitable for the replacement RCMP building mandated by the federal government,” Bomben said to Council. “The arrangement sees the land and building owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the corners of McBride and Third Ave. East acquired for this purpose.”
“The Jehovah’s Witness congregation will purchase city land, as previously advertised, at the corner of McBride and Ninth Ave. West,” she said.
For the deal to be concluded, a budget amendment of $2 million dollars is necessary to proceed with this project, Bomben said.
“(This amount) includes land acquisition and legal costs, engineering and geotechnical costs, and architectural design costs. Funding for this part of the project is from land sale proceeds of $225, 000 and $1.775 million from the Northern Capital and Planning Grant reserve,” she said.
Under the Canadian Charter a municipality must adopt a five-year financial plan annually of which a financial plan may also be amended by a bylaw at any time, Bomben said.
Council was asked to introduce and give first, second and third reading to the 2020 Five-Year Financial Plan amendment bylaw number 3457-2020 all at once, at the meeting on Oct. 5.
Notice of the proposed amendments to the financial plan was placed on the City Hall notice board and paced on the website. The public was asked to submit comments and as of the end of the business day on Oct. 5, none had been received, Bomben said.
“This won’t be completed until we pass the final bylaw reading, which will be at the end of October at the meeting,” Lee Brain, mayor of Prince Rupert said. “The fact is I am all in favour of this.”
“It has been 15 years since the RCMP station has been an issue for the community and potentially even longer …” Brain said.
The city is responsible for the detachments through the Municipal Police Unit Agreement. If the city fails to cooperate the RCMP is within its right to build its own station and bill the city for it.
“As much as we all prefer not to have pay for it, it is inevitable that we have to and the Federal Government is going to make sure of that,” Counselor Wade Neish said.
As reported in The Northern View on April 23, 2018, problems have been plaguing the aged 40-year-old building where the RCMP is currently housed. Issues such as lack of space for staff to work in one building, lack of file storage, and subpar jail cells that did not meet national standards were all problems the local detachment faced. An interim solution of $524,000 retrofit was adopted by City Council in 2018 until the estimated $30 million new facilities could be built and in service by 2023.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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