New police station under budget review

Plans for a new Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) station in Summerland could undergo revisions as the district tries to keep the project within its $4.5 million dollar budget.

  • Jul. 12, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Plans for a new Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) station in Summerland could undergo revisions as the district tries to keep the project within its $4.5 million dollar budget.

Recent figures show the project as currently designed would exceeds its budget by $300,000. The cost over-run is “significant, but not outrageous,” said Ken Ostraat, director of finance in blaming a number of factors including rising constructions and tendering delays related to the referendum that approved the facility by a substantial margin fall 2010.

While Summerland mayor Janice Perrino called cost over-runs for projects of this kind “inevitable” and “par for the course,” she re-affirmed earlier promises the district remains committed to keep the project within budgetary and time limits.

The committee tasked with overseeing the project spent parts of this week meeting with representatives from Unitech, the company overseeing the construction to come up with recommendations designed to trim costs.

Council will receive recommendations at its next meeting.

“The clock is ticking,” said Coun. Ken Roberge, who called the cost-over a “concern” that may require some difficult choices. But he also expressed confidence the district will keep costs in line. Perrino said any measures would likely impact the appearance of the building. “If it doesn’t look like the Taj Mahal, that is fine,” she said. “It is the inside that matters.”

One design element that might disappear from the station is a rammed earth feature, said to be critical to the aesthetics of the building. Cutting the feature would generate about $100,000 in savings, but diminish the building’s appeal.

News of the cost over-run has caused some consternation if not confusion among members of council and re-energized its critics such as Reinhold Prochnau, who see it as evidence that the project has been a “debacle” from the start. The district should have opted for a smaller building that could have been expanded later, he said. He also challenged suggestions the current situation could have been avoided if the district did not have to hold a referendum. “That is a red herring,” he said.

Coun. Roberge said the facility is not too large. “It is built for today and tomorrow,” he said.