Screen grab from Google
Police will be moving into new downtown digs in 2019.
The new City Centre Community Policing Office will significantly enhance community safety in the downtown core, the City of Richmond said in a press release Tuesday.
The 929-square-metre (10,000 square feet) station will be located in the city-owned building at 6931 Granville Ave. (at Gilbert and Granville). It will replace the existing City Centre Community Policing Office at Lansdowne Road and No. 3 Road, which, at 418 square metres (4,500 square feet) lacks the size and facilities necessary to provide the full range of police services required.
“As our community grows, there is an increasing demand for police services across Richmond, but particularly within our rapidly evolving City Centre,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Council has already approved funding for 40 additional police officers during the current term to meet emerging community needs. An expanded City Centre community police office will allow us to permanently station officers in the heart of Richmond, improving response times and increasing street level presence. It will also provide enhanced, easily accessible storefront crime prevention services and other community programs.”
The City Centre area currently generates just over 1,000 police calls a month, which is 28.6 per cent of all calls, according to the city press release. With tens of thousands of new residents moving into Richmond’s downtown over the next few decades, the City Centre area is anticipated to comprise about 37 to 41 per cent of the total calls for service by 2030.
The expanded space will allow a designated complement of police officers to be permanently based in the new facility, which will reduce response times and increase in service time. The new space will allow for on-site processing of offenders and storage of critical emergency response and other supplies to ensure quicker deployment when required.
Increased meeting and storage space will also provide enhanced public access to community policing services and increased support for the nearly 100 volunteers that assist with numerous crime prevention services based out of the facility.
The project cost will be $5.1 million, to be funded from voluntary developer amenity contributions.
Community safety continues to be a top priority for Richmond City Council. About 37 cents from every tax dollar goes towards police and fire-rescue services, as well as emergency programs.
Council approved funding for an additional 16 police officers and three municipal police employees in the city’s 2018 operating budget. During the current term beginning in 2011, council has approved the hiring a total of 40 additional police officers and six municipal police support employees.
The building at 6931 Granville is currently the temporary location for Richmond Fire-Rescue’s Brighouse No. 1 Fire Hall. Richmond Fire-Rescue will be moving into its new fire hall across the street at 6960 Gilbert Road within the next month. Once that move is complete, renovations will begin at the Granville Avenue building. The new City Centre Community Policing Office is anticipated to open in the fall of 2019.
The imminent opening of the new fire hall marks the conclusion of an ambitious 15-year building program, which has seen Richmond build five new fire halls, undertake a major retrofit of a sixth fire hall and acquire and renovate the Richmond community safety building to serve as new central home for the Richmond RCMP detachment.