Ford Road site takes the lead for new RCMP detachment location

The Ford Road site near the Cowichan Commons is being recommended as the best location for a new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment building.

North Cowichan council has been divided on the issue and it promises to be an interesting debate when the matter comes up for discussion Wednesday, but most appear leaning toward Ford.

"Going into this process, I believed the Beverly site was the best location and most cost effective, as North Cowichan owned the land,'' noted Councillor Ruth Hartmann.

She also saw the location close to the core and a savings to the taxpayers as pluses.

"However, I took my own time to do a little research and I also tasked the staff to come up with criteria by which to evaluate properties, as council really needed that,'' added Hartmann. "Firstly, we have a set of criteria set out by the RCMP. No deviating from that — quite a list.

"Then I learned more about liquefaction. Then ask yourself the question, would we or should we have any of our first responders on soils that will be affected during an earthquake?

"Of course, we can build a building on flood plain land but we are now being told by engineering that these costs will skyrocket for the foundation. So Beverly potentially could be a far more expensive site.''

Councillor Jen Woike also had a similar change of heart from Beverly to the Ford site as more information became available.

The Ford site is subject to subdividing a three-acre parcel from five acres and rezoning the three-acre portion to Public Use and the remaining two acres to R1 Residential.

"For me, it has to come down to costs to the taxpayer," said Woike. "Saving the taxpayer potentially over $1 million in development costs is a huge factor in my decision-making, added to the fact that the Ford Road property scored 92% on the criteria checklist, 24% higher than the next property.

"I'm now being presented with three sites and now most recently a criteria checklist, my decision has been made much clearer. The criteria checklist clearly states that building on either Beverly site is a failing criteria. I will be asking why we have just been made aware of this, as seemingly someone must have known this if it's part of the actual criteria.''

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