Inverell could see a new police station as early as 2020, according to member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall.
A three year campaign to replace the 58-year-old building ended successfully last month, with $8.52 million set aside in the NSW State Budget for a new station.
“I’m extremely excited about seeing the end product. As all the staff are,” Chief Inspector Rowan O’Brien said.
Mr Marshall visited the station on Wednesday to give Chief Inspector O’Brien and staff a timeline for the project.
He said the demolition and rebuild should begin in early 2019, after the plans are finalised by the Police Properties Unit, and are expected to take between 12-14 months.
“They’re busily now working on some preliminary designs for the new station,” Mr Marshall said.
“They will actually be on site in October this year to conduct what will be the first of two to three consultations with the local police, as well as with the local council, to make sure that the design suits the needs of the local police and the needs of policing in this community now and into the future.”
Mr Marshall said Police Properties will also discuss the plans with himself, Superintendent Scott Tanner and the wider New England Police District team.
“I just want a facility that has the space and extra space that we can grow into so we’re not standing out here again in 20 years time talking about what we need in the future. That’s probably the most important thing for me,” Chief Inspector O’Brien said.
Police Properties will also look into possible locations for a temporary station during the construction period.
“There’s a number of options that are being looked at. They’re looking at existing vacant or semi-vacant government buildings,” Mr Marshall said. Possibilities include a government office building on the opposite side of the courthouse and the old Roads and Maritime Services registry in Campbell Street.
“If neither of those are suitable, (they’re) looking at a greenfield site where they will literally bring in temporary buildings for that 12-14 month period for the police to work out of,” Mr Marshall said.
Chief Inspector O’Brien said his staff were used to working in adverse situations, and will cope with the inconvenience of the temporary set up.
“How we’re going to handle that is we’re going to drive past this site every single day and see it coming to fruition, and that’ll give us the patience to handle it,” he said.
SEE ALSO: $50K boost for Inverell Town Hall
Deputy mayor Anthony Michael was pleased to see the timeline announced, and said the council will give advice to Police Properties before submitting the development application to make sure local construction guidelines are followed.
“We’ve been pushing for this for some time. We’ll definitely do whatever we can to make sure it happens and there’ll be no hiccups, and everything gets followed through,” he said.