Price tag for new Ottawa police facility in Barrhaven jumps by $60 million

The price tag to build a new Ottawa police facility in Barrhaven has increased by $60 million.

The Ottawa Police Service has described the new facility as critical to serve the growing communities in Ottawa’s south end.

A report for Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting outlines the “facilities strategic plan” over the next 15 years, including proceeding with the new south facility on city land along Prince of Wales Drive.

Staff say the new south facility would cost $178 million, up from the $118.2 million approved by the Ottawa Police Services Board in 2021.

The 218,000 sq. ft. facility at 3505 Prince of Wales Drive, near Carleton Lodge, is intended to replace the Leitrim and Greenbank police stations, as well as several leased properties.  A new 911 Communications Centre would be housed in the police facility.

The board initially approved plans for the new station in 2013, but paused planning in 2021 due to rising construction costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a report for the board, Chief Eric Stubbs says the service can’t afford to spend more money on aging stations like Leitrim and Greenbank.

“Several facilities in the portfolio are close to or over 50 years old. In particular, the Greenbank and Leitrim facilities are significantly past their life expectancy and their poor condition, in some cases, has prohibited the ability to make physical adjustments as well as hindered the efficiency of operations,” Stubbs said.

“Major renovations that would be required to support operations would be very expensive and not wise investments.”

Stubbs also notes the service will need more space as the police service expands in the future.

“It is expected that the city of Ottawa will grow by more than 1.4 million residents over the next 25 years, according to the City’s Official Plan. This growth directly impacts calls for service, and the OPS must keep pace,” Stubbs said in the report.

“As it pertains to OPS staffing levels, the Mayor has pledged to grow the sworn complement and the OPS has developed its own staffing plan after several years of no growth. An increase to the staffing complement is anticipated to require a minimum increase of 54,000- square-feet of facility space by 2026.”

Last summer, the Ottawa Police Service project team for the new south facility met with various city services to explore the opportunity to share the new building, including Emergency and Protective Services and Community and Social Services. Stubbs says discussions were “productive”, but no commitments have been made at this time.

The report does not say why the price tag for the new south facility jumped from $118 million to $178 million. The facility will be paid for through debt, development charges and pay as you go.

A report in June said if a contract was awarded to build the new south facility in early 2023, it would be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2026.

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