A major crack in the North Bay Police Service building is being examined to determine the extent of the damage.
The Chief of Police said it occurred sometime in late August, early September.
“We have people that are coming in to check it out to see whether the building is in fact, safe to work in,” said Shawn Devine.
“We have insurance people coming in and that hasn’t yet led to a requirement for a structural review. We still have a whole structural review that was done about two years ago, that points out some of the concerns.”
The Chief has discussed the challenges they face with the building in its present condition, with some municipal candidates.
“The board is very aware that when you’re talking 20-25 million dollars, that it is a huge deal. Whether it should become an election issue, I think it has to be recognized that this is not the board wanting to go out and build a Taj Mahal.”
Devine says they are very fortunate to have the building they have for the age of the building, but they need to look at the bigger picture.
“The fact is we have a building that is settling on one side, and those things are not easily fixed. So at some point in the near future, our board, whether it’s restructured after the municipal election, I’m going to be asking them to move forward and press for a decision with regards to this building,” said Devine.
“We are presently looking at doing our operating budget, and we have to realize that if we’re going to continue to work out of this building, there’s going to be some very major repairs that are going to continue.”
The police chief went on to say the current police service’s board has made it clear that a new building is required.
The police service board has been presented with three options, two of which are for repairs.
“You’re repairing at a cheaper cost, but the other thing is, what is the longevity of those repairs? Do you put 3, 4 or 5 million dollars into a building that’s going to continue to cost, or do you finally say listen, I think it’s in the taxpayer's best interest to look at building a whole brand new building?” asked Devine.
The police chief says this is not just about building a brand new building, it’s about providing an environment that’s safe not only for the people who work there but also for the people they deal with on a regular basis.
“People have to realize too that this is a 24-hour operation. During the day we probably have upwards of 100 people working in this building, just staff. We have other agencies that work here. We have Crime Stoppers, we have Victims Assistance that works out of this building, we also have our accident investigation centre that are not members of the police service, but actually work with them in this building too.”
The amount of funding available from City Hall will ultimately determine which route they’ll take.