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Construction starts this year on Burnaby’s new RCMP detachment

Plus: two community engagement events at city hall in March about the project

Neighbours and community members can drop into one of two open houses to ask questions and learn more about the new RCMP project at Burnaby City Hall on Mar. 7 and 14 from 5-7pm. The primary purpose of the two open houses is to inform and prepare residents living close to the RCMP detachment about what they can expect during construction and answer any questions they may have. 

The new RCMP detachment will be located at 4038, 4066, 4086, and 4244 Norland Ave., which, according to James Lota, the city’s general manager for lands and facilities, will be adjacent to the current city hall, on the same “city hall campus.” Lota said construction is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2024 and is expected to be completed in three to four years. 

Diagram of the new RCMP detachment. Photo: James Lota / City of Burnaby

The RCMP detachment is one of the city’s most extensive and expensive projects, with an expected total cost of $205,377,858, including $9,779,898 in GST. The contract, awarded to Safe Community Partners, included an initial validation phase cost of $6,496,225 to validate the project’s scope, program, schedule, and budget. The original estimate for the project was $162,500,000, as presented in a report to council on July 10, 2023. There will also be an additional cost of $17,430,000 for underground parking. 

“The budget has now been increased to $222,500,000. A plan reallocation of $29,500,000 will be made from the City Hall Redevelopment project as the project scope has not been finalized and requires further operational and costing review,” said the report submitted to council on Jan. 29, 2024. 

The new RCMP detachment is part of an ongoing attempt by the city to upgrade its main structures, including the planned city hall project, recreation centres, theatres, and other large-scale projects. According to Lota, these projects are taking place now as most of the city’s buildings date back to the 1960s. The new detachment, however, will take priority over the city hall project. 

The current Burnaby RCMP detachment. Photo: City of Burnaby

“It’s old. It was built in the 1960s not as an RCMP detachment, but as a courthouse,” Lota said, “There’s more need now, as the city has grown since the 1960s, and its requirements for policing, so now is the time to build a new home.”

The city’s facilities also need upgrading according to current building codes, safety standards, and energy requirements.

“It will be up to the new building code and post-disaster requirements,” Lota said, adding that the new RCMP detachment will be at post-disaster standards. It will meet the highest energy performance standards with top-notch HVAC equipment and GHD performance and modern security standards to ensure the safety of the staff, patrons, and members of the community and also with the new RCMP technology requirements and standards set by the federal government. 

According to the council report, the budget increase will affect the new city hall project, which is still in the early planning stages.  

“This RCMP project will go ahead regardless of what happens with the new city hall,” Lota told the Beacon. 

According to Lota, the site of the new RCMP detachment has been in use as a temporary engineering works yard, but now that the engineering department has a new permanent works yard, it is vacant. Lota said construction of the new RCMP detachment will not disrupt RCMP services, which will continue at the old detachment. 

“Another reason we chose the site is because it doesn’t really affect anyone else. The site right now isn’t in use so that construction can go on without much disturbance or disruption to anyone really, and the existing detachment can keep functioning while the new detachment is being built,” Lota said. 

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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