Security companies buy former correctional centre

The Terrace, BC facility will act as a base for regional operations

A building with an interesting Terrace history is getting a new lease on life as an accommodation and training facility for security workers and executives.

The former provincial government community correctional facility located in the Keith Ave. industrial area on the southside has been purchased and renovated by local company First Line Security in partnership with Vancouver-based Securiguard.

“You know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them,” said Securiguard president and CEO Darcy Kernaghan, speaking at the facility’s grand opening May 29 of the company’s partnership with First Line.

Securiguard had been looking to break into the Terrace market for a while in anticipation of more work based on the region’s potential as a base for the liquefied natural gas industry and other developments.

It then realized that area companies were loyal to local security company First Line, which is headed by Dave Moulton.

What followed were talks to expand the brands and form a partnership that would combine Securiguard’s high-tech know-how and equipment with First Line’s local knowledge. It was a win-win for both companies, Kernaghan and Moulton confirmed.

“Our values really line up,” said Kernaghan, noting that investing in the community is a top priority for both companies.

The 10,000 square foot building includes a large industrial use kitchen, meeting rooms, and offices.

“Everything is super heavy duty,” he said.

To start, there will be about three people working in the office everyday, Kernaghan said, and the grounds will be well used as an executive and training facility.

The building’s extensive living quarters, which will be used as temporary housing for security workers as well as corporate clients and executives, include bachelor and apartment style rooms that can accommodate 24, some with separate entrances and decks. The facility will also be used to train the company’s canine units, he said.

Purchasing the building was a no brainer, said Kernaghan.

“Housing is so difficult,” he said, noting that as the demand for the company’s services on industrial projects in the area continue to grow, they realized they needed to find a solution.

And they’re hoping to increase the capacity of the building on a temporary basis.

The company is asking the city to consider a zoning amendment so it could provide temporary lodging for up to 180 people.

The proposal is still in the development stages, with council referring it to the development services department for further discussion.

The facility was built in the 1990s by the provincial government to serve as a regional community correctional centre, housing people for short terms who weren’t considered a risk to the community.

It also acted as the central office for people who were sentenced to serve their time in the community but who then had to wear electronic monitoring devices secured around their ankles.

The facility was closed as a cost-saving measure shortly after the provincial Liberals were elected to form the government in 2001.

It was then purchased by the Muks Kum Ol Housing Society in an attempt to set up a housing and mentoring place for young aboriginal people.

That effort ultimately failed but not before the society added a small wing as a residence for aboriginal elders who would not only live there but act as a stabilizing force for young people.