CORNWALL – For Mayor Minerva McCourt, one of the decisions made during council's November meeting was a long time coming.
"We've been working on this for a lot of years," she said. "It's quite a big deal."
The decision was to approve a land sale of town property to the Queens District RCMP for $725,000 – a motion which Cornwall's councillors passed unanimously at town hall on Nov. 18. Once the sale is finalized, the RCMP would construct a new detachment and relocate from its current Queens County detachment on Maypoint Road in Charlottetown.
"(And) we're welcoming them with open arms," McCourt said.
There was an excitement in the room as councillors discovered that the decision was to be made that night because of how it would affect Cornwall's growth as a town.
"This is fantastic to see," Deputy Mayor Cory Stevenson said.
The land being sold is located on the corner of Main Street and the recently constructed Mercedes Drive near town hall. Colloquially, it's known as the Crosby property for having once been home to a car dealership, McCourt said.
She was working with the town when it purchased the property for about $700,000 in 2013. The goal was always to try to get an RCMP detachment on the property, and while it sometimes fell on the backburner, a series of negotiations had taken place over the years.
Kevin Coady, chief administrative officer of Cornwall, said the decision is paying off now, thanks mostly to good timing for the RCMP.
"It became clear they wanted to get out of Maypoint," he said. "So, we made them the pitch."
The RCMP has been working out of its Maypoint detachment for about 20 years, said Sgt. Craig Eveleigh with the Queens District RCMP.
While Maypoint has served the district well, the RCMP has since grown and its needs have changed. As well, the building is technically within Charlottetown's policing jurisdiction, so Eveleigh is pleased to be moving into their jurisdiction of Queens County.
"It's best to have our detachment area in a place that we police," he said. "So, it kind of makes sense for us to move to Cornwall."
Construction on the new detachment is set to begin in 2021, and Eveleigh anticipates that the RCMP will be moving into it by the end of 2022.
Having an increased police presence in the town will help to make it safer for residents, which McCourt believes is "fabulous," she said.
"It's a great thing for the town of Cornwall – no question," Coady said.
Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian