Westward Independent

LtE: Concerns Over RCMP Building and Park Planning

by WWIND Team
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To the Mayor and Council of North Cowichan,

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the recent developments surrounding the new RCMP building and parks on Drinkwater/Paddle Rd. Upon inquiry about the park in front of the new RCMP detachment, I received a response from Mark Frame which indicated that “the building is too wide to be set further south”. This revelation was shocking and raises serious questions about the adequacy of the planning process for such a major project. This land was purchased in 2014 for three acres for 1 million, plus two additional acres in March 2021 for 1.2 million . 

It is incomprehensible that a project of this scale could suffer from such inadequate planning. Additionally, the discrepancy between the initial budget estimates and the final costs is alarming. The project, initially estimated at $23 million, has more than doubled to $48 million, with additional costs for land acquisition. Furthermore, the decision to purchase additional acreage, including a house, raises further questions about the transparency and efficiency of the planning process.

The landscaping of the front yard of the building, purportedly a park, has incurred significant expenses, including $1.4 million for landscaping and irrigation. However, it appears that the planning oversights have resulted in excessive trees, plants, and fencing, necessitating ongoing maintenance. Moreover, the potential inclusion of this park in watering restrictions compounds the wastefulness of this expenditure.

The recent developments regarding the purchase of property for a public park at 2999 Drinkwater Rd further highlight the shortcomings in planning and decision-making. The exorbitant purchase price of $1,415,000 does not even account for the construction or maintenance of the park. This raises concerns about the prioritization of taxpayer funds and the effectiveness of municipal decision-making.

Furthermore, the proposed location of the Central Paddle Park, adjacent to a supportive housing facility and amidst a population struggling with addiction and homelessness, is deeply concerning. The potential for increased crime and public safety risks in the area is evident, and the park may not be a suitable environment for families with children.

Moreover, the traffic and access issues surrounding the new RCMP detachment compound the concerns about its location. The site’s proximity to major traffic routes and commercial areas raises questions about safety and accessibility, especially considering the ongoing construction and development in the area.

In conclusion, the excessive spending and poor planning associated with these developments do not serve the best interests of taxpayers, residents, or the community at large. Urgent action is needed to address these concerns and ensure greater accountability and transparency in future municipal projects.

Concerned Citizen, Joyce Behnsen

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