As if Prince Rupert city council didn’t have enough on their plate preparing for a massive economic boom that would accompany any positive final investment decision from a liquefied natural gas company, they now have to plan for the multi-million dollar replacement of the RCMP detachment.
It is a complex situation and solutions will certainly not come easily. Aside from getting all of the money together, a monumental task given the state of the city’s waterlines and dam infrastructure, council needs to find a location that is acceptable to both the RCMP and the residents of Prince Rupert.
It’s unfortunate that the previous council didn’t make this more of a priority and begin planning well in advance of receiving the final letter of warning from the RCMP. Fortunately there is a lot of work done on the file, though much of it will need to be revisited given changes in the community.
At one point staff had gone through the process of scouting potential locations and taking those out to all of the stakeholders and the community for feedback. The Five Corners location was said not to be central enough, the tennis courts on McBride riled up the community and presented safety issues with its hill-top location and the corner of Third Avenue and McBride was also under consideration but was privately held.
Fast-forward and that particular corner has been sold and is out of the running while the other locations have not had any further studies or solutions proposed to address the previous issues.
The RCMP have been very understanding throughout this whole ordeal – working in a building that is too small and too outdated for the important work they do – which is good for the City of Prince Rupert. But the time has come for the men and women who protect the citizens to have a proper detachment that is up to code and as modern as it possibly can be.
Hopefully Mayor Brain and council have a plan to make this happen. It’s too important to be pushed to the backburner again.