The opening of the second RCMP office in downtown Moncton is facing delays
The opening of an RCMP satellite office in downtown Moncton may not happen until this summer, about a year behind schedule.
The office at 795 Main St. will house the Codiac Regional RCMP Community Police Unit and the City of Moncton Law Enforcement Officers.
The site, about 500 meters west of the current Codiac police station, was announced in March last year when councilors were told it would open in June 2022.
RCMP safety standards and unexpectedly high renovation costs were blamed for the delays. The timeframe has shifted from June 2022 to late summer, fall and now a year than originally expected.
“We hope to open and operate a viable office there sometime this summer,” Don Moore, chairman of the board of the Codiac Regional Policing Authority, told reporters last week.
The police department that oversees the Codiac RCMP has been paying $6,866 plus taxes a month since December for the vacated ground floor space, Moore said. The board is funded by the municipalities of Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview.
The police department was told two bids to renovate the space – previously a gym – were significantly higher than expected. No actual numbers have been released.
Moore said RCMP standards require things like dedicated doors and independent ducts and electrical systems.
The bureau was among 27 recommendations in the fall of 2021 from a downtown safety task force organized by the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber CEO John Wishart said the safety standards shouldn’t have come as a surprise, although the rising costs are more understandable.
“It’s a little frustrating that it’s taken at least another year because downtown Moncton’s problem hasn’t gotten better this year,” Wishart said. “If anything, it’s gotten worse.”
Wishart said the business community sees the announcement of a second location a year ago as an important step.
“I think that was really seen as an early win in our hopes of tackling the whole problem of homelessness and inner city safety,” Wishart said.
“It would be a visible sign in the middle of the city center that at least the issue of crime and law enforcement is taken seriously.”
The task force, which included representatives from all three levels of government, inner-city businesses and organizations that provide services to the homeless, released its report in November 2021.
Recommendations included urging the province to set up a mental health court, provide mental health and addiction support in homeless shelters, and investigate safe drug injection sites.
Wishart said he still hopes the office will help once it opens.
Codiac’s former commanding officer told the council last year that about eight police officers work at the office.
The City of Moncton confirmed Tuesday that it still plans to move officers currently working from City Hall to the space after it opens.
The Main Street office is expected to open while construction is underway on a new $57.1 million building on Albert Street to replace the current RCMP station. This building is expected to be completed in January 2025. Moore said the Main Street location will likely remain after the Albert Street building opens.