In 2019, residents were asked about how best to spend a portion of the McLoughlin Amenity Funds, resulting in a new public safety building (PSB) being put forward as one of the priorities.
Since then, staff have initiated a process to proceed with the construction of a new PSB taking several steps thus far including the formation of an advisory committee, contracting a project manager, a feasibility study, contracting an architecture firm which produced preliminary construction drawings, public consultation processes including Advisory Planning Commission and Design Review Committee meetings, as well as completed a rezoning process for the land upon which the new PSB will be situated.
- The former Greater Victoria Public Library branch location has been converted to offices to house the VicPD Esquimalt Division and some Esquimalt staff.
- The former public safety building has been demolished.
- The project is slated for completion in fall 2024.
The existing PSB is nearing the end of its serviceable lifespan. The township acquired the property north of the current PSB to allow for a new building to be built on the site of the current PSB and yet still allow for expansion of the building footprint, while keeping police and fire response centrally located within the township.
The design of the building will look to the future, allowing for expansion for the police and fire departments and some township services, as well as providing valuable commercial space on Esquimalt Road, CRD offices, a dedicated Emergency Operations Centre as well as other space for public use.
Moving ahead with the project
The total budget amount estimate is $42 million. There are numerous costs associated with a project of this nature; demolition and abatement of the old PSB, construction of the new PSB, outfitting and equipping the building, temporary police and fire facilities and consultant costs, to name a few. Roughly one-third of the costs for this building cover things other than construction; things like temporary facilities for fire and police to work out of during construction and demolition and abatement of the old structure.
There is $7.1 million in amenity funding dedicated to the PSB project. The remaining funding shortfall is approximately $35 million. This amount exceeds the township’s threshold to borrow without seeking public approval therefore, there is a legislated requirement to seek that approval.
At the March 1 2021 council meeting, council passed two resolutions. They approved first, second and third readings of Loan Authorization bylaw and subsequently gave staff authorization to proceed with an alternative approval process (AAP) should we receive statutory approval of the bylaw. The AAP is a form of approval that allows electors to indicate whether they are against a local government proposal moving forward. This process is outlined in legislation and must meet specific criteria in terms of timing and transparency.
The township received approval from the Province to begin the formal AAP process.
- Read the March 1 staff report outlining the project
- Read the April 1 public notification
- Read the AAP and financial FAQs
- See the AAP results
- AAP public information packet
The legislated notification period began April 1 and the response period began April 9. The response period is the timespan when residents can submit a form stating their lack of support for the loan authorization.
At the end of the response period, if the threshold number (10 per cent of the population) of negative responses was not met then the township may proceed with adopting the Loan Authorization Bylaw.
The township used print advertisements, mailouts, social media, e-newsletters and the website as part of its outreach strategy. The aim is to provide both digital and hard-copy forms of information-sharing to help reach as many residents as possible.