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Guelph Police Services

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The report also suggests the location serves the police service better and is more accessible to the public than options outside of the downtown.

Business case points to police HQ renovations

The business case is in for the plans to upgrade the Guelph Police Service’s downtown headquarters, and it looks like the costly renovation of the existing building may actually have the lowest ticket price in the long run.
The business case, prepared by consultants KPMG for the police service, concludes that renovating is the superior option, over a variety of options for building a new headquarters on a different site.
“It has the lowest cost,” says the report’s conclusion.
It also suggests the location serves the police service better and is more accessible to the public than options outside of the downtown.
Cost was the main reason city council requested the business case. It was a condition of approving spending $34 million on the project – an increase of more than $20 million over and above what was initially approved for the renovations.
The Guelph Police Services Board was to review the business case and vote on a recommendation to go ahead with renovation plans at a special meeting on Wednesday afternoon, past the Tribune’s deadline.
“The superior option with the lowest cost, accessibility to the public and current site availability continues to be the expansion and renovation of the current GPS headquarters building at 15 Wyndham Street South,” said a report to the board.
The cost may yet be more than the city bargained for, though.
KPMG brought in engineering firm AECOM to provide its expert opinion on each of the options presented, and AECOM determined a construction estimate that was $5 million higher than the estimate included in the $34-million budget request, the report said.
The difference is partly due to escalation of costs between today’s prices and when estimate were determined by architect’s cost consultants, it said.
The project team estimates that cost escalation is closer to $2 million and “is a real concern if the project is delayed further,” it said.
Delays would definitely be an issue with a couple of the options explored in KPMG’s business case.
Among them are the options of building on the Fountain Street parking lot – identified as “the only readily available downtown site” – or on the IMICO site on Beverley Street.
But both of these are brownfield sites that would require extensive remediation before building could begin.
Meanwhile, the current headquarters would need to be maintained, and the building has a long list of deficiencies – from a leaking roof to inadequate prisoner housing and forensic labs.
Other sites the business case examines include the Guelph Innovation District off York Road and the Hanlon Creek Business Park.
The business park, located in the city’s south end, is dismissed as being “inconvenient for public access and for shift changes and reporting to the various patrol beats,” the business case says.
Building on the provincially owned Guelph Innovation District lands, the former Guelph Correctional Centre grounds, would likely also involve delays, as the province has not made a decision on whether any of the lands could be sold, it says.
“Such a decision would be required before a project could proceed,” it says.
Any of the options identified by the KPMG firm are expected to cost several million dollars more than renovations of the current headquarters, the business case says.

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