RCMP say they are go­ing ahead with plan

Of­fi­cials main­tain RCMP should halt re­lo­ca­tion ef­forts of Truro OCC un­til they have re­view’s find­ings

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - HARRY SULLIVAN TRURO NEWS

TRURO, N. S. – Ef­forts to re­lo­cate the RCMP Op­er­a­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Centre (OCC) from Truro to Dart­mouth are con­tin­u­ing, de­spite a commitment by the force to con­duct an in­de­pen­dent re­view of that de­ci­sion.

The RCMP plans to move the centre to its divi­sional head­quar­ters in Dart­mouth by early 2021. How­ever, of­fi­cials agreed to con­duct an in­de­pen­dent re­view af­ter Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale asked them to look into safety con­cerns raised by Cum­ber­land- Colch­ester MP Bill Casey about both of the prov­ince’s emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tion cen­tres op­er­at­ing out of the same build­ing.

“In the mean­time, the work is still con­tin­u­ing on the re­lo­ca­tion of the OCC,” said pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer Cpl. Lisa Croteau.

Casey said that is not how he be­lieves the process should un­fold.

“My un­der­stand­ing of the di­rec­tion for the RCMP is that they are to call a re­quest for pro­pos­als for an in­de­pen­dent body to do a risk as­sess­ment on this pro­posal to see if it is safe,” he said. “I be­lieve it should in­clude the sus­pen­sion of the process.”

Croteau would not com­ment fur­ther on that in­de­pen­dent ex­am­i­na­tion process other than to say it “… will be con­ducted in ac­cor­dance with Trea­sury Board poli­cies. More de­tails will be avail­able in due course.”

Lenore Zann, MLA for TruroBi­ble Hill-mill­brook-salmon River, be­lieves the re­lo­ca­tion ef­forts should be sus­pended im­me­di­ately, pend­ing re­sults of the in­de­pen­dent re­view.

Hav­ing gone over the 2017 Re­port on Fea­si­bil­ity Study of RCMP H Divi­sion Op­er­a­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Cen­ter, Zann main­tains “it has sev­eral sub­stan­tial er­rors in the data which cause me great con­cern as the con­clu­sion ap­pears to be based on in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion.

“This is be­com­ing a very prom­i­nent is­sue in the prov­ince be­cause it af­fects the safety of all Nova Sco­tians.”

An­other is­sue Casey has raised, re­gards in­for­ma­tion he has that in­di­cates the RCMP has paid rent on empty space at the Dart­mouth head­quar­ters at a rate of $13,675 per month for six years, for a to­tal to date of $984,600.

And he said in­for­ma­tion con­tained in a redacted copy of the 2017 Op­er­a­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Centre Fea­si­bil­ity Study out­lines sev­eral new RCMP pro­pos­als, which in­clude con­tin­u­ing to pay rent on the va­cant space for 10 more years, at a fur­ther pro­jected cost of $1,641,000, for a com­bined to­tal of $2,625,600.

Croteau said the RCMP plans to use at least a por­tion of the empty space to house the re­lo­ca­tion of the OCC from Truro.

But she said the RCMP is not pay­ing rent for the space as Casey im­plies.

“I just know we are not at this time I don’t know if we have in the past,” she said.

Casey said the RCMP are not be­ing com­pletely hon­est with that in­for­ma­tion.

“They don’t have a rental agree­ment they have what they call an oc­cu­pancy in­stru­ment,” he said. “But the bot­tom line is, it’s the most ex­pen­sive real es­tate in Hal­i­fax. It’s top qual­ity of­fice space and it’s empty. And it’s not free.”

Casey said the RCMP it­self has in­di­cated the space in the tax­payer-funded build­ing has a rental value of $50.80 per sq. ft. and hav­ing it sit empty is not a con­sci­en­tious de­ci­sion.

“It just doesn’t make sense. Noth­ing about it makes sense,” he said. “I chal­lenge them to come dis­cuss it with me and de­bate my num­bers. I’m not afraid of fac­ing them and putting my num­bers on the ta­ble if they will put their num­bers on the ta­ble.”

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