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Town of Cochrane moves to next phase of two vital facilities

Transit hub and RCMP detachment projects progressing.

The Town of Cochrane is moving to the next stage of both its proposed new RCMP detachment and transit hub facilities leading up to requesting budget approvals from council. 

Principal design and architectural consultants for both projects have been secured and the town is in the process of securing a cost consultant.

"Cost consultants assist in the process to ensure the design budget is maintained," said Greg Barsi, facilities manager for the Town of Cochrane. 

While both projects are still in the design phase, planning for the transit hub is taking an expedited approach with the goal to have shovels in the ground as early as this fall.

Barsi said the town's executive leadership will go to council with a budget proposal in early fall and plans to take a design-build approach to the project, which means construction will coincide with building design. 

The approach will allow the town to complete the transit hub quicker than waiting for the full design to be completed before construction begins. Barsi said the decision will allow the transit hub to be open by next fall. It will also ensure the town doesn't miss the window for the GreenTrip funding that will be used to pay for construction. 

While the risks associated with the design-build approach difficulty altering succeeding stages of construction, Barsi said there are added benefits of a quicker build and the advantage of procuring materials under the most current market price.

The current concept for the transit hub is a three-storey structure that includes lease space for professional services style businesses – banking, legal and accounting – the business incubator on the second floor, and an anchor tenant for the third floor. Barsi said the latter will be a longterm lease holder that will essentially help carry the majority of the building's costs. He added the town is in negotiations with a possible anchor tenant, but a deal has yet to be reached. 

"There will also be an administration component for those who don't have the means to get to the RancheHouse ... and a visitor information component," said Barsi, adding the Chamber of Commerce might also utilize some of the space. 

Ultimately, Barsi said, the transit hub is going to be a key town structure that serves as a central service point for the community transit system, provides a variety of services and will create a link between Historic Downtown to Railway Street.

"It will be an interesting and important building for the town," he said.

RCMP detachment

The RCMP detachment will be a longer-term project as the town works with Alberta K Division on the design requirements for the structure that will be located at Highway 1A and Horsecreek Road.

"The RCMP has very heavy input ... they have very rigid guidelines," said Barsi.

Once completed, the new detachment will house community and regional RCMP, who will lease the space, as well as the town's municipal enforcement team.

The 4.66-acre site will be designed to accommodate RCMP operational growth for the next 10 years, and will be structurally viable for at least 50 years, said Barsi.

Next step

The next stage of construction will be to hire a construction manager and Barsi said the town plans to use a construction manager at-risk model, which means the construction manager assumes a higher level of responsibility to perform.

"They have a little more liability of executing and meeting targets," he added.

Barsi said a date has yet to be set for when the projects will go to council for budget approval. Council resumes meeting after the summer break on Sept. 9.


Chris Puglia

About the Author: Chris Puglia

Chris is a SAIT-trained journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
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