City council and staff has been working hard behind the scenes for some time now to accommodate a new police facility planned for the community, while concurrently working with a hotel group to facilitate the development of a local hotel.
During our regular meeting Monday night, we directed City administration to proceed with the development of a new police facility on the current municipal snow dump site; continued to negotiate with a hotel group on developing a hotel on the Michener Park commercial site owned by the City of Lacombe and utilize proceeds from the sale of land to the hotel group to replenish the industrial land for resale reserve, and undertake the temporary relocation of the City snow dump to City owned land within Len Thompson Industrial Park.
Selecting the most appropriate site for the new police station is the critical first step to providing the members and staff of Lacombe Police Service (LPS) and the citizens of Lacombe with a facility that will best serve the safety needs of our community today and well into the future.
A Site Selection Review Committee comprised of the chief administrative officer, chief of police, director of corporate services and director of infrastructure services was formed to determine the optimum location for a new police facility.
A total of seven sites were identified as potential locations, and the preferred site selected by the review committee was a three-acre parcel in Michener Park.
After further consideration, it was determined that both a hotel development and a new police facility could be accommodated by negotiating the sale of a three-acre commercial parcel of land in Michener Park to the hotel group, and utilizing the existing municipal snow dump as the site for the new police facility.
While the snow dump was not initially identified as a site of interest when potential locations for a future police facility were reviewed, this site is ideal because the land is owned by the City of Lacombe, so it simplifies the acquisition process.
It provides sufficient land area for a single story facility that will provide adequate functional space for members and staff to work; meeting and training areas, storage space, exhibit handling and management, interviewing, prisoner care and handling, victim assistance and community tours. It is also large enough to provide adequate parking for both public and staff.
This site also provides effective access to Hwys. 12 and 2A, access that will be further enhanced when 34 St. is paved from the City of Lacombe boundary to Hwy. 2A.
The site is also close to new commercial and residential development in southeast Lacombe, and will allow for a police presence in this area.
Another important consideration for this site is that it is outside of the floodway – this allows for LPS to be the backup Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to City Hall in the event of a disaster.
The three-acre parcel in Michener Park has been deemed appropriate for a hotel development as the land is zoned commercial and ready for subdivision to proceed, and water and sanitary services are located adjacent to this property, which makes for easy servicing.
Also, the revenue realized from the sale of this land can be used to offset the cost of relocating the existing snow dump to City land within Len Thompson Industrial Park Phase II.
I have worked hard to retain the hotel development, which will undoubtedly have positive economic spin offs for the community.
When I was first elected mayor, my one promise to voters was that I would work hard to attract a hotel to Lacombe, and I recommitted to this promise last year.
While it has been a long time coming, I am confident that the winds of change are finally shifting in our favour, and the hard work by staff and council behind the scenes will begin to bear fruit.
Steve Christie is mayor of Lacombe.