Town and MD officials broke ground at the site of the new Bonnyville RCMP building on Friday, turning the first shovel of sod in the next 15 months of construction till the project's completion.
"We're really excited about it. It seems to be a long time coming, and this is really a positive thing not only for the detachment but for the community," said Cst. Steve Smith who attended the ground breaking of the new RCMP building on Friday.
Smith said the new building, which is a mirror image of a new RCMP building in Sylvan Lake, would offer a better work environment for members. The new building will provide over 1,300 square metres of space and come at a cost of over $5.7 million.
"It's substantially bigger than what they have now," said architect Victor G. Kozak. "I think it will serve the community well for the next 30 or 40 years."
The new RCMP building will be a brick and stucco two-story facility at 54th Avenue and 46th Street. Construction will begin this week as soon as it is dry enough to start drilling holes and is scheduled for completion in October 2011
"It's an important project for us. It's nice to be part of an important project that's part of the community. For us we're very proud to be building the new detachment," said Reginald Roy, partner with GenMec ACL.
The building will employ 10 to 15 full-time people with GenMec ACL during construction. Roy estimated another 30 to 40 would be employed at peak construction in sub-trades and suppliers. GenMec ACL is currently also building the new Cold Lake Chrysler building and finishing off Assumption High School in Cold Lake.
Roy said while the economic downturn is still affecting the construction industry, he thinks it will be short lived. "This year is a bit of a slow year. Next year will definitely improve. I think that the prospects for the Bonnyville-Cold Lake area are quite positive."
"This is definitely a big commitment to the community," said Lawrence Ference, chair of the police committee. "When you get a facility like this, a five or six million dollar facility, that just indicates how strong the future is."
The new building will come with an administrative change as well because there are more municipal RCMP members than rural. The town will receive payment for the portion of the building that accommodates rural RCMP members, which Mayor Ernie Isley said would help support debt payments for the building.
"It's important to make sure that they have proper facilities so that they can continue to protect our highways and communities," said MP for Westlock-St. Paul Brian Storseth.
Bonnyville RCMP currently has 17 members and six and a half staff and projects that within five years it will need space to accommodate 26 members and a total staff of 36.