Summerland’s new RCMP station, which officially opens on July 27, is long overdue.
Discussions about the facility have taken place for 12 years and with five municipal councils.
Twice, Summerland voters were asked to vote on referendum questions about a new detachment.
During this time, the members of the RCMP detachment continued to work out of an increasingly inadequate facility on Jubilee Road East.
The building had not been constructed as a police station but as a restaurant.
In 1975, when the building became the police station, Summerland had a small detachment and the facility provided adequate space.
Over the years, Summerland’s population has grown and the detachment has grown with it.
Anyone who has been inside the building within the last decade has seen the crowding problems.
There have also been some maintenance problems in the building.
Since 2005, the cells have been condemned, forcing our officers to transport prisoners to Penticton.
The new building is considerably larger and before it was constructed, there were concerns that Summerland would have a much larger facility than was necessary.
There were questions about whether a smaller and less expensive building could have gone up instead.
While the $4.5 million cost is noticeable, the building will serve for many years to come and it is big enough to allow the police detachment to expand as the community continues to grow.
Planning for future needs, not just present needs, makes good sense.
In the years to come, other facilities in Summerland will be in need of replacement.
Building larger than our present needs may seem extravagant but it makes sense in the long term.