Thursday, June 09, 2016

New look at RCMP space

by Kate Bouey - CASTANET Jun 9, 2016 / 5:00 am
City council will take yet another look at the overcrowded Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP premises in the downtown and the possibility of a new building. “That was talked about last council and now we'll be talking about it in the coming months,” confirmed Mayor Akbal Mund. City council gets a progress report Thursday on its five-year strategic plan. Goals and timelines will be reviewed, with the RCMP at the top of a long list of items. “Definitely, we need more space for the RCMP. That's been on the radar for the past 10 years,” said Mund, making it clear new premises would not come soon and that the discussion will include whether a new building was needed or an expansion of the old one. Of key concern is money. “Obviously there will be funding issues. I mean looking at building costs, probably $56 million, so it's a ways away but you do have to plan for it.” In Summerland, a new detachment was funded through a provincial grant – while in Kelowna, the new $48 million structure is being funded primarily by local taxpayers. “We need to now put it into a plan and see how, eventually, we'll fund that,” said Mund. When asked if an RCMP building could precede a proposed new cultural facility that would house Greater Vernon's museum and art gallery, Mund said, “definitely not.” “I mean we've already passed the arts and cultural plan so that's going to proceed a lot quicker than any RCMP building will.” An email to RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara about conditions in the building was not returned.

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