At its meeting on March 10, Lacombe City council voted in favour of relocating the site for a new police station from Michener Park in favour of selling the same parcel of land to a hotel group interested in building there.
The site for the new police station, construction of which is slated to begin at some point in 2015, was approved by council last year.
But recently the City was contacted by a hotel group interested in building on the same land.
Not wanting to lose such a promising economic opportunity, council directed administration to fi nd a new site for the police station to be constructed. Administration then proposed for the new station to be built on the City’s current snow-dump site east of Wolf Creek Dr. and north of 53 Ave.
This option, which council endorsed at the recent meeting, would mean temporarily re-locating the snow dump site to existing City land within the Len Thompson Industrial Park as well.
At the meeting, Police Chief Steve Murray graciously accepted the change in plans saying while Michener Park may have been the best fi t for a new station in a perfect world, he was also glad that Lacombe was pursuing what Murray called a much needed economic investment.
“I’m not only the chief of your police service, I’m also a citizen of Lacombe,” said Murray.
“I’m cognizant that even though the need for a new police facility is critical, there are other critical needs in the City as well.”
In response to some concerns that the police station may be cut off from much of the City being on the east side of the tracks, Murray said it is possible to address that problem through deployment.
Murray went on to say that it is a rare day where all of the units on duty are occupied on the east side of the City.
In addition, it is also rare for all three railway crossings in Lacombe to be blocked at once, he said.
“I think at the end of the day, this is a good road for us as a City, as a community, on both fronts,” said Murray.
“It is going to help address a critical need in terms of a hotel coming to town and it’s going to help us address a critical need for a police service facility at a location that, in my mind, makes perfectly good sense,” he added.
City council voted in favour of relocating the future police station and continuing to negotiate with the hotel group to develop on the Michener Park site.
Revenue from the sale of that land to the hotel group will be used to undertake the temporary relocation of the City snow dump site.