Moncton RCMP station described as 'failing,' prompting safety and security concerns
Condition of existing building a factor in decision to move ahead with new $57M building
A long list of problems with the current Codiac Regional RCMP station was outlined Monday before Moncton council voted on whether to go ahead with a new $57.2-million building on a different site.
"The infrastructure is failing," Elaine Aucoin, the city's project manager for the new station, told councillors about the 43-year-old existing station on Main Street.
A review of the station's holding cells late last month identified "serious failures in security," according to a letter given to council Monday. That led to extra security being implemented for the safety of detainees and to reduce liability.
The problems factored into the 7-4 vote to go ahead with a new station, with those casting nay votes saying they don't disagree the existing facility is in bad shape.
"I'm really appalled that the present building is in the condition that it's in," Coun. Paulette Theriault said ahead of the vote.
A letter read to council from the Codiac Regional Policing Authority, which oversees Codiac RCMP, says the city was informed in 2007 and 2010 of "the deficiencies needing to be addressed" at the building.
A study in 2014 also outlined problems, including building code violations. Staff indicated some of the issues were later fixed.
However, the letter says the policing authority has been told "deficiencies remain unaddressed and therefore the CRPA agrees the building fails to comply" with its contractual obligations.
Under the policing contract, Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview are required to provide what the RCMP deem a suitable building, and must pay for any repairs.
The letter said "immediate action" must be taken to fix the problems. Councillors were told that the city has two years to address the problems.
Sherry Trenholm, the city's director of municipal facilities, said an estimated $4.6 million in repairs could be required in the next four years, including repairs to the building exterior and replacing an underground oil tank, its boilers, emergency generator, fire protection and electrical systems and roofs.
Trenholm showed councillors a series of photos and described some of the problems with the building.
Some rooms lack sufficient fire protection. Mechanical systems like the sprinkler system are approaching the end of their useful life and would require costly repairs.
Many meeting rooms have been turned into office space, Trenholm said, and the only debriefing room doubles as the lunch room.
Trenholm said the electrical system is insufficient to meet additional demand, telling councillors that using a microwave and a toaster at the same time can trip a breaker.
She said an emergency generator can't power the entire building.
It also doesn't meet national building code post-disaster requirements for critical infrastructure.
"We have a building that is located in a flood zone, so no matter how we do modifications to the building, we cannot meet the post-disaster requirement," she said.
Trenholm said there are 40 female members of the force, but only one shower. The 110 male members have three showers, which don't comply with building codes, she said. She added there's not enough room in the building to add more.
The building also lacks sufficient washrooms in the lobby area.
The building was constructed in the 1970s for the city's municipal police. The province forced a change to a regional RCMP force in the 1990s.
We haven't had a preventative maintenance program in that building, which you can see the end result of that.- Sherry Trenholm, Moncton's director of municipal facilities
The state of the building prompted questions.
"Why do we have this mess we have now?" Coun. Daniel Bourgeois said in French. "Did we not have a maintenance plan at all? Was it not sufficient?"
Aucoin responded there's now a maintenance plan, but since 2014 there was a plan to build a new station and so major spending at the existing station was avoided.
Trenholm told councillors her team didn't get involved until 2015, after a review of the station had been already carried out recommending building a new station.
"We were only doing repairs as requested," she said. "Usually it's a failure that occurs [that leads to] doing a repair. We haven't had a preventative maintenance program in that building, which you can see the end result of that."
She said even the reactive repairs haven't been fully effective, noting the roof has been patched but there are still leaks.
Coun. Paul Richard also questioned the work done to maintain the building.
"Those cells didn't happen – the deterioration didn't happen in the last two years, or four years. It's been a mess for quite awhile," he said, referring to the holding cells.
The condition of the cells came up repeatedly, though few details were provided about exactly what had occurred.
Coun. Shawn Crossman told Information Morning Moncton on Tuesday that photos he saw showed rusted doors on the holding cells.
"That doesn't happen overnight. That doesn't happen in four years. That's prolonged," Crossman said. "Those things should have been addressed."