September 12, 2017 8:05 pm

Calgary police will soon have new arrest-processing unit

Calgary police escort two men into the arrest processing unit on Feb. 7, 2017.

Global News

Discussions have been ongoing for years, but Calgary city council has approved the land-use change to allow for a new arrest-processing unit for police.

Several years ago, former police chief Rick Hanson talked about the current arrest-processing unit (APU) not being adequate for officers or prisoners.

In 2013, it was also impacted by the floods.

The building is more than 50 years old. It’s located on the same block as the existing Central Public Library in the east end of downtown Calgary.

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READ MORE: Calgary Young Offender Centre sending inmates to Edmonton amid cutbacks 

On Tuesday afternoon, council approved a land-use change that will allow a new APU to be set up in the vicinity of the Young Offender Centre and Spy Hill Jail, east of 85 Street and 112 Avenue NW.

Councillor Joe Magliocca says area residents have some concerns about the facility and the release of prisoners.

“They’re worried. What’s going to happen when they’re released at one or two in the morning?

“Those are the questions I wanted answered and they assured me they’re not, so we’re definitely going to be following up with them.”

Magliocca said part of the concern is the closest transit stop is 1.4 kilometres from the proposed site of the new arrest-processing unit.

“And there’s no sidewalks and a very dark road… The gravel pits are there and truck drivers there do 80-90 kilometres and hour.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi believes police are working on some of the issues raised by residents.

“Part of the very big analysis the police service did on whether this facility makes sense is all under discussion right now,” he said.

Nenshi says this does open up tremendous opportunities for development on a prime piece of property downtown.

“That whole block… which is the current Central Library, Bow Valley College and another police facility, all those things together need to be thought of comprehensively as a really important block in the centre of downtown Calgary.”

The cost of a new arrest-processing unit building will be approximately $25 million. Construction is expected to start later this year.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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