North Cowichan finance manager Mark Frame is recommending council sign its first contracts for the new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment. (File photo)

North Cowichan to consider contracts for new RCMP building

Looks to contractors working on similar construction in Fort St. John

Architectural and construction companies currently working on a new RCMP detachment under construction in Fort St. John are being considered to work on the new $41-million RCMP detachment in the Cowichan Valley.

The Municipality of North Cowichan is considering staff recommendations for contracts for the architectural and pre-construction work on the new detachment building that will be constructed on a five-acre property owned by North Cowichan bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road.

In the report, North Cowichan’s finance manager Mark Frame said four submissions were received for the architectural and managing consultant services contract, and that staff has determined that the top ranked proposal was from Vancouver’s KMBR Architects Planners Inc. at a cost of $1,053,000, plus GST.

Frame said two submissions were received for the pre-construction and agent construction management services contract, and the best proposal was from Unitech Construction Management Ltd., at a price of $875,000, plus GST.

He said both companies have comparable contracts for the similar-sized RCMP detachment currently under construction in Fort St. John and they should be able to find some synergies between the two projects to save costs.

“We are now seeking authorization for the mayor and corporate officer to enter into those contracts,” Frame said.

“No alternate recommendations are being put forward for council’s consideration as council passed a motion stating that it wished to proceed with building an integrated RCMP detachment, the submissions came within budget, and the projects are being awarded to the most qualified bidder.”

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said in June that he had begun discussions with another mayor from a Canadian community that is currently planning on building a RCMP station that is almost identical in size to one that will serve the Cowichan Valley in an effort to save money through cost synergies.

Frame said signing the contracts would allow the design of the new detachment building to start in 2019.

“The next step is the release of RFPs for electrical design and trades, and mechanical design and trades,” he said.

“These RFPs will be released the week of Sept 9. Should council not wish to proceed with the highest ranked proponent, the RFPs would have to be released again, with amendments, and it would preclude starting design in 2019.”

The existing North Cowichan/Duncan detachment on Canada Avenue is well past the end of its life, and North Cowichan agreed in principle in March to proceed with plans for the new detachment building.

The facility will bring together the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment, Forensic Identification Services, South Island Traffic Services, and First Nations Policing under one roof.

The project is still subject to federal approval and the signing of a new occupancy agreement with the municipality.

North Cowichan also requires permission from its voters to borrow the money for the building and, in July, decided to use the alternative approval process to determine if the electorate is on board for the borrowing.

While the municipality is responsible for borrowing the money for the new building, the RCMP and the province have agreed to pick up 60 per cent of the tab, with North Cowichan responsible for the rest.

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