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Kelowna council ready to debate $48 million new police building

Kelowna city council will discuss a proposal Monday to build a new multi-million police building in Kelowna.

City hall says the existing 52-year-old building on Doyle Avenue no longer provides sufficient space for effective policing in the community so a new Kelowna police services building for the RCMP is proposed for the corner of Clement Avenue and Richter Street.

“Maintaining a safe community is a priority for citizens,” said John Vos, infrastructure division director for the City of Kelowna.

“The city’s 2012 citizens survey ranked concerns about personal safety relatively low, while protective services were citizens’ top priority for community investment. That tells us people generally feel safe in Kelowna and they want to continue investing in protective services to give the RCMP the support system and efficiencies they need to keep our neighbourhoods, business areas and downtown safe.”

The project, if approved, will be more than just a new building. It will include necessary roadway and intersection improvements on Clement Avenue and Richter Street, parking lot provision, landscaping and required off-site utility servicing.

The cost ceiling for the successful contractor is $36 million. That cost includes design and engineering, building construction, parking, landscaping, utility upgrades, street upgrades, sidewalk and irrigation.

There will be additional direct costs to the city (outside of the contract work) that could equal as much as $12 million, for a total project cost of $48 million. Those direct costs include planning, project management, development cost charges, building permit, furniture and computer networks, financing costs, design-build stipend for unsuccessful bidders and a contingency reserve.

The funding strategy council will consider Monday proposes Kelowna borrow up to $42.3 million from the Municipal Finance Authority of B.C., amortized over 30 years, with another $5.6 million to come from reserve funds and other outside funding sources.

Under the Municipal Policing Agreement, the city is required to provide adequate accommodations for the RCMP to perform its work, within a set of nationally applied policing standards.

The city says its current infrastructure does not meet those standards and poses a potential risk to effective policing in the community. Under those circumstances, the RCMP has the right to construct their own facility and bill it back to Kelowna residents.

So the city says it is working toward a solution.

“It is important to remember that this facility is more complex than office space— it is part prison, part high-tech lab, part library and part armory or high-security storage facility," said Vos. "It is operational 24/7 and required to be built to a post-disaster standard, which means after the occurrence of a seismic event, the building needs to not only remain standing, but needs to remain fully operational.”

If approved by council, the next steps will see the elector approval process for the borrowing of funds to complete the project, which is expected to be brought before council early in 2014.

 

If that is approved, construction of the new building would begin in 2015, wrapping up in late 2017.

 

 

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