Nunavut RCMP on quest for new Iqaluit cop shop
Iqaluit Town offices could be razed, replaced by police headquarters.
IQALUIT — The Nunavut RCMP is hunting for a site for its new headquarters, and the land underlying Iqaluit’s fire department, arena and municipal office has caught its eye.
In a recent letter to the Iqaluit town council, the RCMP indicated it’s been searching for an ideal location to build the territorial headquarters.
Kevin Searle, who handles property matters for the several RCMP divisions, visited Iqaluit in November to scout out possible locations. One of those was the site that’s now occupied by Iqaluit’s municipal offices, the arena and the fire department, located in downtown Iqaluit and close to many businesses and offices.
“It’s a prime location for us and it would be advantageous for the RCMP to be located on that site,” Searle said.
If the town council agrees to the RCMP proposal, there’s a good possibility part or all of the site’s buildings would be torn down.
Because of that, the council is taking a hard look at the proposal before it decides the fate of the arena and fire station, said councillor Keith Irving.
“We do have another arena going up for the Arctic Winter Games. Council is still evaluating whether we need the two arenas,” said Irving, who also heads the Town’s planning committee.
The town council has to decide if a new municipal office is necessary. Irving said many people agree that the current building is old and much too small for all the municipality’s employees. But, he said, there are more pressing needs in the community. The roads need repairs, the sewage treatment plant isn’t completed yet and the dump is almost full to capacity.
“At this time, based on the work we’ve done to date, I wouldn’t say a new town hall is on the top of our priority list,” he said.
There’s also some question whether the Town can afford to construct a new office. Irving said money from the sale of the land could be put toward the construction costs, but the RCMP hasn’t indicated how much it’s willing to pay.
The new headquarters, expected to be as large as 30,000 square feet, will house the territorial administrative offices and the Iqaluit police detachment under one roof. Right now the two are located in different areas of town.
Kevin Searle said that after visiting the Iqaluit police detachment, he’s convinced a new one is desperately needed.
He said the detachment has twice the officers it had when it was originally built.
“We’re sadly under-spaced right now and that’s the crux of the matter,” he said.
Searle figures the detachment, measuring 10,000 square feet, could do with another 15,000 square feet. The extra space is needed to accommodate the larger police force, as well as new training facilities and detention cells.
The RCMP is proposing the new headquarters be equipped with facilities such as a firearms range where officers can hone their skills.
Other initiatives are in the works.
“Because there’s an increase in business and in the different types of crimes, there’s other operational crime units being created to deal with the different aspects of the job. We require extra space for those people as well,” Searle said.
Searle’s department will submit a request to the federal Treasury Board for funding for the headquarter’s construction.
The Iqaluit town council is handing the proposal over to Irving and the planning committee for review. “It seems to be worth having a look at,” Irving said.