Annapolis District RCMP has a contract with Annapolis County but local taxpayers didn’t have to dish out for the upgrades that over the past several years have totaled almost $1 million.
“There was no additional cost to the county for this,” said Staff-Sgt. Dan MacGillivray. “The way it works is the county contracts for the RCMP services and they pay a certain amount per police officer -- that’s for salaries, that’s for police cars, that’s for the electricity, that’s for the operation for the building.”
The money came from the RCMP’s provincial budget.
MacGillvray said the renovation didn’t happen over night, explaining it was a planned project for the last three years.
“Since 2013 there’s been six new positions here in this office, and that’s largely as a result of the support from Annapolis County,” he said. “We were really in a kind of cluttered situation. It was dated, the interior. So we went through an exercise of space optimization. The experts came in, looked at the office space and came up with a plan that would allow us to have more work stations here and just brighten the place up and modernize it.”
Renovations started April 3 and were essentially finished by the end of July with a few deficiencies being addressed after that.
One of the major changes has been the collapse of two offices, updated bathrooms, a freshened-up conference room with new furnishings.
“It was a phased approach as far as the plan to do the renovations. The real success story here is we were able to maintain front counter service throughout this construction period,” said MacGillivray, noting that officers can work from their cars or from the Middleton office, but front counter staff weren’t so fortunate. “I give a lot of credit to our front counter staff. They showed flexibility. They moved to various spots while the renovations were occurring. There was a lot of construction. A lot of smashing and banging, but they were still able to answer the phones and provide front counter service.”
The renovations needed to accommodate those six new employees in a building that now was home to a staff of 20. MacGillivray said that was achieved and staff are pleased with their workstations, where they’re set up and the configuration.
He said they lowered a lot of barriers like cubical walls, making for better communication, better sight lines, and better access to the light through the windows. And they lightened the colour.
“The office is just more efficient,” he said.
The office improvement wasn’t the only work done. Since 2013-14 a lot of other upgrades have happened. The cellblock was renovated, the roof was replaced, and furniture was replaced. The final phase is the parking lot that will be re-paved and re-configured starting on Sept. 5.
MacGillivray is particularly please with the addition of a ‘soft interview room’ where officers can talk with victims and family members in a gentler setting than the bare-bones regular interview room.
Annapolis District detachment -- the Bridgetown and Middleton offices combined – is one of the busiest detachments the Province of Nova Scotia, said MacGillivray.
“That’s Criminal Code case loads per officer that we have here – it’s one of the busiest in the province,” he said. “This (renovations) will just make us more efficient. It’s a better work environment now. It’s a healthier work environment. Part of this renovation was the air quality of the building. So all of these things will enhance our capabilities here, our capacity here in Annapolis County.”
He apologized for any disruption the renovations may have caused for people.
“We do thank the public for their patience during this renovation period,” he said. “I think we did the best job we could to continue to offer our services but there were disruptions and we want to acknowledge that.”
By the numbers
-- Cell block renovations: $226,000 in 2013-14; $36,000 in 2014-15
-- Roof Replacement: $80,600 in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
-- Space Optimization: $392,000 – 2016-17 and 2017-18.
-- Furniture: $27,739 in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
-- Parking Lot: $200,000 over two years – 2016-17 and 2017-18.