Glace Bay to get new po­lice build­ing

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY NANCY KING

Most mem­bers of coun­cil ul­ti­mately voted in favour of the mu­nic­i­pal cap­i­tal bud­get that in­cluded al­lo­cat­ing funds for a new po­lice sta­tion in east division, but not ev­ery mem­ber of Cape Bre­ton Re­gional coun­cil was sup­port­ive of the new build­ing.

Prior to Thurs­day’s bud­get ses­sion, dur­ing a meet­ing of the board of po­lice com­mis­sion­ers,

Chief Peter McIsaac of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional

Po­lice Ser­vice out­lined his ser­vice’s pro­posed bud­get, in­clud­ing his case for a new sta­tion to be con­structed some­where in down­town Glace Bay.

The es­ti­mated to­tal cost of the project is $ 2.5 mil­lion. The 2017- 18 cap­i­tal bud­get ap­proved by coun­cil in­cludes a $ 625,000 al­lo­ca­tion for plans, land pur­chase and start for the new po­lice east division build­ing.

East division cur­rently uses a por­tion of a for­mer Devco build­ing that dates back to the early 1970s that is ex­pen­sive to op­er­ate and was never in­tended to be used for polic­ing ser­vices, McIsaac said.

McIsaac noted that cen­tral division re­cently un­der­went ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions and north division has also re­lo­cated to the his­toric for­mer town hall in Syd­ney Mines, which un­der­went about $ 1 mil­lion in ren­o­va­tions.

The ren­o­va­tions at cen­tral division gave of­fi­cers a mod­ern workspace, McIsaac said, and pro­vided for bet­ter work­flow and de­liv­ery of po­lice ser­vices, and made it more user-friendly for cit­i­zens need­ing to ac­cess those ser­vices.

“Our fa­cil­i­ties are in bet­ter shape than ever be­fore, ex­cept for east division,” McIsaac said.

The cur­rent build­ing is also used by some CBRM de­part­ments and would be main­tained by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity even if po­lice moved out. A num­ber of sites for a new sta­tion are be­ing eval­u­ated but a lo­ca­tion hasn’t been fi­nal­ized yet.

When the project came up as coun­cil­lors dis­cussed the pro­posed mu­nic­i­pal cap­i­tal bud­get, Dist. 11 Coun. Ken­dra Coombes ques­tioned McIsaac’s as­ser­tion that hav­ing a new po­lice build­ing in down­town Glace Bay would have an im­pact on crime rates.

“Wouldn’t it be more fea­si­ble to take some of this money and put it into crime pre­ven­tion pro­grams?” Coombes asked, mak­ing ref­er­ence to pro­grams such as Com­mu­nity Cares and the Whit­ney Pier Youth Club.

McIsaac said ex­pec­ta­tions of po­lice ser­vices have changed over the years, and the cur­rent east division build­ing is not up to mod­ern polic­ing stan­dards.

“Bud­gets are all about pri­or­i­ties,” Dist. 6 Coun. Ray Paruch said. “I look at this, this is not a pri­or­ity for me, I will not be sup­port­ing this as part of the cap­i­tal bud­get.”

Coombes in­tro­duced a mo­tion to re­move from the bud­get the $625,000 al­lo­ca­tion for the new po­lice east division build­ing, which did not pass.

“I kind of find it hard to sign off on a project when we don’t have a spe­cific place and area and plan there,” she said.

Di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing and pub­lic works Wayne MacDon­ald noted the CBRM wouldn’t buy land to lo­cate the sta­tion prior to the project be­ing ap­proved by coun­cil.

“It’s one of those things, pay now or pay later,” said Deputy Mayor El­don MacDon­ald, sug­gest­ing if the CBRM waited the cost of the project would only rise.




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