Pembroke buys a home for Ontario Provincial Police 0
Pembroke Mayor Ed Jacyno
The OPP will be working out of a downtown complex when it takes over police services in Pembroke next year.
On Tuesday night, city council okayed a deal which will see the city purchase 227 Lake Street - the Lakeside Medical Facility - for $800,000, then convert it into a police station ready to host the Ontario Provincial Police when it takes over law enforcement duties in the spring of 2013.
The city will take over ownership of the building Oct. 29, 2012, with the entire project, including purchase price, totalling in the area of around $4 million.
Mayor Ed Jacyno said the city has to provide appropriate accommodation for the OPP as part of the deal they signed with them in June. He said by selecting this building and renovating it, they will be saving money as compared to building one new from the ground up.
Based on some OPP estimates, constructing a new building to meet their needs would be in the neighbourhood of $6.5 million.
“Various OPP facility people, the local architect that initially designed the building, and a structural engineer that assessed it agree as to its suitability for renovating,“ he said.
“What we will be left with in the end will be a beautiful, fully functional building that will meet the policing needs of our citizens for decades to come while cost effectively replacing the current station, which no longer meets policing needs.”
Deputy Mayor Ron Gervais, who along with the mayor represents the municipality on the Pembroke Police Services Board, agreed this was a good decision.
“The central location in the heart of the downtown is ideal from a visibility and accessibility perspective,” he said.
When city council decided to disband its police service and instead enter into a service contract with the OPP, they selected the integrated service model, in which the police assigned to the city would be part of the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment, and patrol Zone 4, the designation for city limits. They will also work out of a building sited within the city.
One of the big motivations for council to go OPP was the cost of replacing the current police headquarters, located on 169 William Street. It is considered too far gone to renovate and would have to be razed and then rebuilt if that was what the city wanted to do.
With the capital costs for a facility estimated by the city’s staff to be between $4 million to $5 million, council was told during the policing discussions if they stayed with the current police service, they would bear the burden of debt payments on the building, which could be more than $400,000 annually over 30 years. That would be on top of the current policing costs.
If they went OPP, any annual savings from the switch could be used to cover those payments on the new building.
It was stated during the debate held earlier this year over switching police services the city’s force cost around $5.9 million to maintain. The OPP offered to provide an integrated service for $5.5 million.
According to revised figures provided to council by the OPP Contracting Section in June before finalizing the contract, the projected cost for policing the city in 2013, based on this year’s estimates, will be $5.2 million.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist