The city has taken its first step towards borrowing $42.3 million for a new police services building.
The building, slated for city-owned land on Clement Avenue in the North End, is expected to cost a total of $48 million, with $5.7 million coming from city reserves.
On Monday, council authorized a borrowing bylaw, pending public approval, a step that had to be formalized before getting provincial support to use what it known as the “alternate approval process” to gain that public approval for the borrowing.
The process puts the onus on the public to object to a city proposal rather than the city holding a vote on it. If opponents cannot gather 10 per cent of voters’ signatures over a 30-day period, the proposal proceeds. If enough signatures are collected in time, the city can either hold a vote or drop the proposal.
In the past, when the city has used the alternate approval process, it has succeeded because not enough opposition was registered.
If successful, the city says it will start construction of the new police services building, to replace the aging, existing RCMP detachment building on Doyle Avenue downtown, in 2015. Construction is expected to be complete in 2017.