As Chief Shawn Devine says about North Bay Police Services headquarters, “This building was state-of-the-art. In 1974.”

Police Board Chair Denis O’Connor stresses that no decisions or recommendations have been made yet, but the time is coming for serious discussions about where the North Bay Police Service will be located in the future.

Devine says that public consultation will take place as part of the decision-making process. He adds that construction, whether renovating or building, is “three to five years out.”

Architectural and environmental studies have determined that the police building on Princess Street West is not only sinking, it is lacking many efficiencies to even be deemed “adequate,” for policing.

At the Police Board meeting, a report has been introduced outlining the various structural, mechanical, and electrical issues found in the 43-year-old building. The executive summary, released to media after the meeting, presents three main options, with one of those options split into two possibilities.

As Devine said after the meeting, the decision ultimately is the City of North Bay’s to make. He adds that as often is the case with these scenarios, how much money can be sunk into a building that will outlive its usefulness before any return on investment can be realized?

The following are the options and recommendations as found in the executive summary of the building condition and suitability assessment:

  • $9 million: Renovate and upgrade the existing building, without expansion. This will not meet current or ongoing operational requirements.
  • $15 to $16 million: Renovate the existing building and build an addition. Two separate options between the cost range.
  • $17.5 million: New construction (site undetermined).

The recommendations note that the difference in cost between renovating and adding on to a new build is relatively small.

The report goes on to state that the first option will only address some issues with the existing building, adding “there is no room for growth.”

The second options address the need for more space and leave room for growth. But, the report states that renovating while operating out of the same building will be disruptive. The second set of options would extend the life expectancy another 15-20 years.

The third option, the new build, is deemed to be the best investment. A new building would be flexible and would accommodate growth.