Demolition has officially begun on the old Jehovah's Witness Hall at the corner of Third Street and McBride Street in Prince Rupert, the site of the new RCMP detachment building.

"This project is actually mandated through our RCMP contract, and it's been something that's been on the docket for the city for about 15 years. The existing RCMP facility is about 40 years old, and it doesn't meet federal standards for RCMP anymore," said Prince Rupert Communications Manager Veronika Stewart.

The reason why the project's taken so long is due to finances as well as finding a viable site, though just because it's under way doesn't mean the RCMP building will be up and running anytime soon.

"Demolition is starting now, and proceeding over the next couple of weeks. In terms of the overall long term vision for the RCMP, we're anticipating that they'll have occupancy in 2024.  We're currently still finalizing the design, so additional construction timelines will be posted as soon as they're available," Steward told CFTK TV News.

In terms of the location, Stewart says that finding the site was a big stroke of luck.

We were looking in the past for basically a suitable location, and we'd also been contacted by the Jehovah's Witnesses to look for an alternate location for them as well. They were looking to build a new facility, so the city basically saw the opportunity for a land swap. This location is fairly central, which is great in terms of RCMP and being able to access the community quickly. So it was just basically serendipitous, and we were we were lucky to be able to locate that site."

As for the total cost of the project, the city says it will be $25 million, which has been obtained through a grant over the next 30 years from the Municipal Finance Authority.