On November 27, Council will vote on buying the old STC building (and two accompanying parking lots for about $16 million) and transforming the space into a new Regina Policy HQ. The old building, constructed in the late 1970s, will remain in operation. Here are some considerations.
I approved the recommendation at the Executive Committee meeting last week, but am still undecided on how to vote at Council. I gave the green light to proceed with the bid during private sessions, but with the intent of seeing the STC building used for its intended purpose: a bus stop. Here are some considerations for residents to think about. Is there anything to add?
1. A brand new police building will cost around $140 million, according to some estimates. The STC retrofit is being portrayed as $100 million in savings. Is it? A new police building is recognized as a capital spending priority, but is it fair or accurate to say that spending over $30 million is the same as saving $100 million? Should policing be the top priority?
2. By using reserves the City avoids borrowing costs but these particular funds will be at a zero balance by 2019. That constricts our capacity to invest reserves into recreational and other facility priorities. This particular risk assessment (which appeared in the Executive report) was not included in the initial private session presentation, but as a Councillor I accept responsibility for not asking those questions. That said, the information now available should be considered.
3. Buying a building comes with additional operational expenses for the city and the RPS. Current leased buildings utilized by the RPS might still be used by the City. Either way, costs go up.
4. Can the decision be referred to the broader budget deliberations? Technically yes, but we'd lose out on the STC building, which goes back on the market in less than 45 days. There is reason to believe there were other bidders. I would rather the City owns this piece of real estate.
Do you like this post?