RCMP moving into old city hall

SURREY – Surrey RCMP plan to renovate and move into the old city hall site in Newton.

With police moving in, the former civic site will be fully rented.

Coun. Judy Villeneuve pointed out Surrey’s plan to pay for the new city hall was partly through rental revenue from the old site. With the RCMP, the city would essentially be renting from itself, she noted.

To that, city manager Vincent Lalonde explained roughly $40 million in capital

Policing detachment and a funding that was set to go toward building a new facility for the RCMP was transferred to the operating budget to account for that.

While little change will be required to adapt the west wing for the RCMP, the centre/south tower – the oldest portion of the former city hall – will require extensive renovations.

A Request for Proposals for the renovations closed on July 3, and is currently being reviewed, with funding for it in the 2015 capital plan.

Meanwhile, the detachment is expanding its exhibit space and cell block, to the tune of $7 million.

Another $3 million is set aside to expand and/or relocate the Cloverdale and Newton district offices in 2017-2018.

In the longer term – sometime between 2020 and 2024 – it’s anticipated the former city hall will no longer be enough for the

North Detachment may be necessary. Current cost forecasts estimate it would cost $55 million.

The RCMP join Crown counsel and community corrections in the old city hall.

The province signed a 10-year lease and is spending $3.4 million to renovate the space.

While the federal government has approved Surrey’s request for 100 new officers, is there space for them? It seems the detachment will make do as new officers begin to arrive, but it doesn’t actually have the adequate amount of space for the new Mounties.

Based on numerous studies, Surrey RCMP say the optimum amount of space per person in a policing environment is 225 square feet. That includes workspace, meeting rooms, cells, washrooms and more.

When that ratio slips to below 190 square feet per person, inefficiencies arise, according to a report to Surrey’s police committee Monday.

In 2014, Surrey sat at 197 square feet per person. By moving into the old city hall, that ratio will jump to 232, according to the report.

areid@thenow newspaper.com

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