It’s been about seven years in the official planning and building stages, and has seen some roadblocks and bumps along the journey, but on Thursday the new RCMP Detachment in Springdale opened to much fan fare and excitement.
Planning for the new facility started in 2005, according to Eugene Chown, Regional Director, of Asset Management & Procurement for the Atlantic Region of the RCMP. The Police force has over a 60-year history in this province, and last year signed a new 20-year contract with the province to maintain that strong presence.
“We’re here for a long term commitment, obviously, and we wanted to make sure our infrastructure was prepared for that as well,” said Chown.
The mult-million dollar facility began construction in 2009, after the planning and architecture was complete.
For members of the community, when it was confirmed what the scope of the new building would be, it was a relief and a welcome sight.
“We were hearing rumblings at the time that Springdale would only be a satellite office and everything would be done in Grand Falls-Windsor,” said Mayor Harvey Tizzard at the ceremonies. “But needless to say, we were pleased with what this ended up being.”
Chown says when dealing with projects like this, all options are looked at, and a decision is made that’s in the best interest of the area affected.
“We use these buildings for several years, so obviously we needed a long term solution,” he said. “We look at the size and needs of a given region, and also where that region is headed in the coming years, and we felt that what we have here now was the best option to go with.”
The new facility replaces the more than 50-year-old previous detachment that housed RCMP officers in Springdale, and also served all the region of Green Bay and Green Bay South.
“All you had to do was drive by the old building and know there were needs for improvements,” stated Chown. “This was put at the top of our priority list, and today we’re very pleased to see it up and running.”
The new one-and-a-half story building not only has more storage and operational space for the Springdale officers and staff, but also houses two cell units and according to Commanding Officer of B Division, Newfoundland and Labrador, Tracy Hardy, will allow the RCMP to continue their work in the community in an even stronger capacity than before.
“We’re very pleased with this new facility, and what it means for the community of Springdale and the area,” she said. “The facility will allow officers to have a more active role in the community, which is very important. These officers live here – they’re raising their families here, and it’s important they get out and become involved.”
While new to the role, Hardy says she wants to make community involvement a huge part of what the RCMP does – and new infrastructure like the Springdale Detachment will aid in the process.
During the construction of the facility, though, delays in a wealth of areas caused the opening to be pushed back several months.
“We’re about six to eight months behind on the opening,” explained Chown. “There were some issues with the construction, the architecture, the availability of materials, and stuff like that, and then we had some issues with the heating system, so we had to figure out the most cost-effective way to deal with all of that.”
While those delays were somewhat of a nuisance to deal with, Chown says they’re now in the past, and they’re pleased the facility is now open for business.
“You’re going to have problems with any major building project,” he explained, and it’s important for them to move past the issues and get the job done.
Moving on now, Chown said they’re committed to other infrastructure investments in other regions of the province, as they continue to improve the police presence in communities.