The Township of Esquimalt will proceed with its long-term borrowing plan for the construction of a new public safety building, after residents didn’t provide enough responses to force a public vote on the issue.
Esquimalt chose to use the alternative approval process (AAP) to gauge resident support for the borrowing plan it proposed for the $42-million public safety building project.
Due to the $35-million loan exceeding the threshold of what the township can borrow without first seeking voter approval, Esquimalt could either use the AAP or go straight to a public referendum.
Electors had a month to register their opposition to the project as advertised, but the AAP fell well short of the 10 per cent (1,380 responses) necessary to force a vote on the borrowing plan. Less than five per cent (648) of the Esquimalt electorate had sent in response forms by the May 10 deadline.
The township is now authorized to fund about 83 per cent of the public safety building improvements project through debt borrowing. The community will borrow a maximum of $35 million over up to 30 years for the construction of the new building. Approximately $7.1 million will be used for the project from the McLoughlin Amenity Funds, received from the Capital Regional District for Esquimalt hosting the region’s wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point.
Plans call for the new public safety building on Park Place to house fire, police and other municipal services for more than 50 years, as well as provide valuable commercial space on Esquimalt Road.
Decisions on the final building design, rezoning of the land and other related items have yet to be made by council. Multiple public input opportunities will be available ahead of those decisions, according to the municipality.
At its May 17 meeting, Esquimalt council unanimously approved a staff report that recommended certifying the AAP results and adopting a bylaw authorizing the borrowing plan.
For more about the project, visit esquimalt.ca and search for Public Safety Building Construction Project.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.