Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Council approves plan to use Alternative Approval Process for RCMP Building Loan Authorization

The approach towards Loan Approval for the new
RCMP detachment on the Jehovah Witness property
moved forward on Monday evening

It will take the vote of about ten percent of eligible voters to suggest a change of course for City Council when it comes to seeking the approval of the public towards the required 25 million dollar Loan for the new RCMP detachment in the City.

That after City Council on Monday night chose to use what has become a fairly familiar instrument  by Council in recent years towards loan approvals, that of the Alternative Approval Process. 

With the path towards approval beginning with a short overview from Chief Financial Officer and Deputy City Manager Corinne Bomben, who provided some background to the process of the financial themes of the Detachment build, outlining the details to the mechanism of the Alternate Approval Process. 

As she explained it, voters would have until June 27th to participate in the AAP response form process, electors are asked to sign the form if they disagree with the borrowing of funds by Council for the detachment."Electors are asked to sign the Elector Response Form should they disagree with Council borrowing funds for the RCMP Detachment Project. The Loan is not anticipated to increase property taxes in the future unless the entire loan is required. If this is the case, at current interest rates the estimated tax increase would be Two Percent" -- Chief Financial Officer/Deputy City Manager Corinne Bomben

In documentation included as part of her report that would mean that the City would have to receive 958 votes against the Loan Authorization to shift focus towards a next step, which could require a full referendum on the financial question.

Councillor Blair Mirau carried the bulk of the discussion
on the city's decision to use the AAP mechanism towards
voter assent for the RCMP loan requirements

Towards discussion, Councillor Mirau spoke first, offering his praise for the detailed report which she had provided which noted of the required number of elected voters in the community that would be required to refuse the borrowing option.

He observed that he doubted that many residents would oppose the borrowing, realizing the situation the city was in.

"I appreciate the level of detail in calculating the ten percent number of electors that was a very thorough report and it would surprise me if that many people would register their opposition because I think most people understand the position the city is in on this one"  -- Councillor Blair Mirau

Mr. Mirau also called attention to a recent report from the Province that recommended a transition from the RCMP to a Provincial police force (something we noted on the blog in late April), with the Councillor asking the CFO/Deputy City Manager of any implication of such a change on the Detachment project.

Ms. Bomben observed that she didn't have an answer for that aside from the fact that it will be along process towards any transition, she did note  of the current obligation that the City has towards providing for a new RCMP detachment.

"In the meantime we are obligated to construct an RCMP detachment and we have been behind for about ten to twelve years I believe in this endeavour" 

She did surmise that should such a transition to a provincial force take place that the province would look to all of the municipally owned buildings and probably would transfer them over either at market value or a negotiated amount.

The councillor then followed up with some comments he has heard from the public about how much the city will spend on the RCMP detachment and how they would rather see that money put to different users.

"The only thing I would add, is there has been kind of a common concern I think, or at least what I've heard articualted back to me, that for a loan of this amount a lot of people are saying well couldn't we spend these millions on parks, or roads or whatever type of initiative that someone might see as a priority.

I think that it's important that we acknowledge that that is a frustration and I think all of us if we could set different priorities for this amount of money we would like to, but we do need to acknowledge that there is a legal obligation here and as Ms. Bomben said you know, a decade plus in the making.

Ultimately beyond the loss of local control if the RCMP were to construct their own facility any cost overruns would be borne by the taxpayer anyway, so that is the classic definition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, so I'm comfortable with the recommendation as it is written" -- Councillor Blair Mirau
Councillor Cunningham concurred with Mr. Mirau's theme noting that the RCMP can do what it wishes related to a new building and with this proposal the City has some control, he also observed light heartedly that if a provincial force came into being, that maybe the city could make some money from their building.

Of note from the Monday discussion was that the option of taking the Loan Authorization to the full voting pool through a full referendum was not even mentioned to any extent, Council having seemingly already made their mind up that they preferred the AAP option instead.

The full report for Council can be reviewed from the City's Agenda Package here, starting on page  

The City's background information on the Detachment project is available here.

You can review the full conversation on the topic from the City's Video Archive starting at the three minute mark.

The City's Communication Office was quick to the Information sharing process following the vote of Approval for the APP option, with the City making note of the topic through their Social Media feed and providing for an instructional video on the topic.

The short video provided for some basic notes on some background on the RCMP Station, the nature of the 25 million dollar loan, as well as to how the APP option works.

The full video from the City can be viewed below:

Some of our past notes on the new RCMP facility can be explored through our Major Projects and Infrastructure archive page here.

For more on Monday's City Council Session see our Council Timeline feature.


  1. Path of least resistance by council, they can't claim this is economical because the detachment build has been sitting on the shelf for close to a decade due to different priorities.

    This taxpayer would have preferred a referendum at the ballot box, not an AAP.

    The referendum could have given the city time to collaborate with the RCMP to provide acceptable building options at various budgets. Some of which may have been more budget friendly than the current price tag.

    By going the AAP route, the city will take out a loan. But will the taxpayer get full value for the amount that was borrowed, time will tell.

    This could all change if 10% of the electorate object to the AAP, if that happens the RCMP build won't move forward without an assent voting event.

    AAP Guide -

  2. Another city hall video that will get tens and tens of views.


  3. That's a funny screen shot of the council, looking like a gang of masked desperados in various poses with a bag of loot. Would have thought that the city could have chosen a more traditional group photo.