Esquimalt is planning to hire a consultant to carry out a feasibility study on its planned new public-safety building for police, fire and emergency services.
The study, expected to be finished by May 15, will consider what to build, the cost, whether it will be a phased project, construction timing and whether other uses, such as housing, offices and commercial space, should be included.
Contracts need to be lined up by the end of the year in order for the municipality to access $5 million under its agreement with the Capital Regional District for the new wastewater treatment plant being built in Esquimalt.
“Council is going to have to make informed, quick decisions and move things along,” Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said this week.
Esquimalt expects to receive another $12 million under the funding arrangement with the CRD for recreational facilities and additions to Esquimalt Gorge Park, where the municipality is planning a 5,000-square-foot multi-use Japanese-style building near a revamped Japanese garden. A dog park is also being developed.
The current public-safety facility at 500 Park Pl., housing police, fire and emergency-management services, does not meet seismic standards, Desjardins said.
“We have officers in offices that are cupboards,” she said.
“It is an old building and there are wasted spaces in it as well that are just not functional.
“Our services are really outgrowing the space.”
The existing structure is across the street from Aragon Properties’ Esquimalt Town Square site. Now under construction, the Town Square site will include residential, offices and commercial space, along with a new library branch and a public plaza.
The new building will be about 35,000 to 45,000 square feet, according to the request for qualifications issued Dec. 13 by Esquimalt.
Esquimalt will choose up to six proponents to take part in a request for proposals. It will sign a services agreement with the successful applicant.
The municipality has already purchased land, now used for parking, for the public-safety building. That property is next to and north of the existing facility, facing Esquimalt Road.
Esquimalt expects to continue using the existing building during construction, then remove it and develop the land under that footprint, the request for qualifications says.
However, Desjardins said no decision has been made about whether to retain the current building.