Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Road Closure application suggests decision on New Prince Rupert RCMP detachment may be near

A road closure notice for an area 
behind the Lester Centre  could 
provide a hint as to the 
location of a new RCMP detachment
A simple legal notice, placed towards the back end of the classified section of the weekly paper last week and announcing the intent to close a road off of Highway 16, may as things turn out be telling us a much larger story.

With a quick review of the Notice of Intent, residents of Prince Rupert may have received their first hint that after the many discussions that have taken place over a number of years, the decision as to where to place a new RCMP detachment for the City may finally be close to an end.

And in the end, the prospect of a new RCMP detachment for the City may have come down to that old real estate axiom of location, location, location.

The Public Notice, placed by the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure last week, comes in the form of at Notice of Intent for a Road Closure of the Yellowhead Highway 16, advising of the intent to permanently close a portion of road right-of-way for the Highway.

The official description of the area in question is noted as:

East of: Assigned Parcel 28 (Plan 5631), District Lot 251, Range 5 Coast District and Lot A, District Lot 251, Range 5 Coast District, Plan 5535 ...

Official coordinates that might even have left famed explorer Simon Fraser lost in the wilderness for months in quest of a location.

As for finding the place on a map, the location as outlined in the Notice, would place the proposed location as behind the Lester Centre, on the south side of Highway 16, roughly in the area across from the intersection where foot of 11th Avenue East is found.

The Ministry of Transportation description of the road closure notice
matches up with an area behind the Lester Centre across from the foot of
11th Avenue East at the Highway

The notice also offers up information that the proposed road closure will create a lot of approximately  2.6 hectares to facilitate the construction of an RCMP facility within the City of Prince Rupert.

And while the notice advises that a plan showing the proposed road closure may be viewed at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure office at 4825 Keith Avenue in Terrace, there is some good news for those that may not be inclined to make a ninety minute run down the highway to see a plan for their own community.

It is understood that a copy of the road closure material from the Ministry of Transportation is available at City Hall in Prince Rupert, for those that may be interested in viewing it.

As well, the deadline for comments has been extended to November 4th for those that may be looking to participate in the process that  the Ministry of Transportation outlines in their public notice.

So far this year, there has been no mention by City Council in a public session, as to the status of any progress towards the goal of securing a new facility for the local RCMP members.

The topic, is one that has been of high importance and at times quite controversial for a number of previous City Councils through the years.

When we last left the issue, the RCMP had served the required number of notices to the city  to move the file forward and with a final notice having been delivered, was in the position to go ahead and build their own structure if they wished and forward the bill to the City.

At that point of March 2015, the city was still indicating that they were looking to have some control over what was built in the community.

"We were aware that this letter would come day and in fact the City began the process of consultation with the community in 2012. The process stalled but now we are in the position where we either take the next step and have some control over what is built, or the RCMP will build it for us and send the City the bill .  Staff intend to engage the community with respect to this notification and begin necessary planning" -- City Financial Officer Corinne Bomben speaking to City Council in March of 2015, providing notice of receipt of a Final letter from the RCMP regarding a replacement building for the local detachment.

Hopefully, the City will soon offer up some kind of background related to the road closure notice and offer up some further details as to what plans may be in the offing for the long anticipated new detachment building.

Advising residents of the city as to what the eventual plan may look like, what the projected cost might be and if the city did indeed get to share in some of the control over the proposed project.

Some of the background to the history of the issue can be found below:

March 2015 -- City looks to pick up RCMP detachment issue where they left off in 2012
February 2015 -- RCMP deliver final letter related to new detachment requirements
March 2013 -- City Council clicks their heels and hopes for the best
March 2013 -- Emergency Services Building Review set for Monday night
December 2012 -- City council kicks the emergency services building debate down the road until March
March 2012 -- The residents are rumbling ...
March 2012 -- Discussion begins on emergency services replacement building

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