Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building, from the fire department’s apparatus bay doors. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building, from the fire department’s apparatus bay doors. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)

Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

The construction of a new public safety building for the Township of Esquimalt has moved a step closer to reality.

At Monday’s meeting (March 1) council unanimously gave first, second and third reading to a loan authorization bylaw that would allow the municipality to borrow up to $35 million to build a new home for the Esquimalt Fire Department and VicPD.

Rather than undertaking a referendum to gauge support for the plan, however, council voted to use the alternative approval process for the first time. This month, elector response forms will go out to all eligible voters, who will have 32 days to register their opposition to the proposal.

If less than 10 per cent of the electorate indicate a desire for the township to hold a referendum on the matter, the project will be considered approved.

ALSO READ: Excitement building around Esquimalt Town Square

“This is not a process you take lightly,” said Mayor Barb Desjardins, noting that this will be the first time Esquimalt has used such a method to determine public support for a civic proposal.

“You really need to be clear about … the amount of money (to be borrowed),” she said. “You can’t go back to the public again, so it’s really important that we ensure the public are aware what they’re being asked for.”

The public can inspect architect’s drawings now on the township’s website. Plus, the township will soon launch a dedicated website for the project that will contain a 10-page information package detailing the process and the project.

Council heard at the meeting that a $42 million total price ceiling had been established for the project, which would also include ground floor commercial space along Esquimalt Road. Staff assured council of their confidence in not going over that budgeted amount.

“We have been extremely conservative,” said township chief administrative officer Laurie Hurst. “We have been looking at this knowing that we can’t go back for more money. We have to go out to AAP (alternative approval process) with the max that we would need to build this building, and also the strong confidence that we are doing that.”

A new public safety building has been in the conversation since the municipality consulted residents on what they’d like to do with the $17 amenity fund secured when Esquimalt became home of the regional sewage treatment plant. Initially $5 million from that fund was earmarked for the project, Desjardins said, and more may be available.

Other projects for which the funds have or will be used include the new pavilion building and other upgrades at Esquimalt Gorge Park, and recreation facilities improvements that have yet to be determined.

RELATED STORY: Ground breaks on Esquimalt Gorge Park upgrades

Desjardins said the amenity fund was essentially split into three pots of money, one each for the two major projects, and a third for smaller projects that rose to the top of the public’s wish list. She clarified the township’s focus for the fund:

“One of our strategic priorities is not to leave one cent in that pot that the CRD can take back,” she said.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

developmentTownship of Esquimalt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food trucks will be allowed to operate in several Sooke parks beginning May 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke’s food truck pilot project under scrutiny

Councillor questions impact food trucks will have on nearby restaurants

A walk for autism awareness. (Black Press Media file photo)
COLUMN: Autism acceptance, not autism awareness

Elizabeth Sparling is the mother of a 24-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
PHOTOS: Vehicle driven into Saanich Walmart removed after two trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Tons of bottles were donated during bottle drives in Sooke and Langford on March 27. The funds raised from the drives will help a local family stay with their daughter during her leukemia treatments in Vancouver. (Photos: Glendora Scarfone)
Sooke, Langford bottle drives help cover family’s costs of staying with daughter during cancer treatments

More than $11,900 raised to help Shae Hanilton’s family stay with her in Vancouver

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Most Read