Progress toward building a new $5-million Ontario Provincial Police station in the County of Brant could pick up speed later this month.
Michael Bradley, general manager of corporate services with the County of Brant, said municipal staff will meet with representatives from OPP headquarters and Infrastructure Ontario by the end of June to discuss provincial funding and next steps in moving forward on the project.
“We are hoping that within a couple days of that meeting that the county’s Brant OPP detachment committee will meet to review the outcome and discuss how to proceed with the project,” Bradley said. “Steps forward will be made in July.”
Discussions about building a new detachment were put on hold earlier this year when the City of Brantford and County of Brant joint-services committee entertained discussions about potentially sharing police services.
The committee has since decided to cease discussions on the topic.
County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said county staff have been trying to meet with provincial representatives for too long.
“We have been waiting on Infrastructure Ontario for months,” Eddy said. “This meeting will be a step in the right direction. We want to get on with it.”
The committee has received a report from Brant OPP that outlines the cost and approximate size of a new detachment.
Bradley said the cost of construction is estimated at $5 million, plus the purchase of land to construct an approximately 17,000-square-foot facility.
The report sheds light on deficiencies of the OPP’s current building in Paris, which is approximately 11,400 square feet.
“This is absolutely no capability of managing a major investigation in Brant County from the detachment due to a lack of space,” the report said. “There is insufficient space for seized property, weapons and drug storage.”
The report says the county would be better served by a detachment in southwest Paris, in close proximity to Highway 403 and Rest Acres Road.
Three options for building a new detachment were under consideration before police services was chosen as a topic of discussion by the joint-services committee.
One option was for the County of Brant to purchase land and fund the cost of constructing a new detachment.
A second option was for a shared county and provincial building, with costs split between the two levels of government.
A third option, which will likely be approved by council if provincial funding from Infrastructure Ontario is secured, would see the province incur the cost and maintain full control over the project. The county would be charged annual rent after the province pays for the new building.
The OPP’s current building is more than 50 years old. In 1999, it was converted from a post office into a police station for the former Paris Police Service. In 2000, the detachment became County of Brant OPP headquarters following municipal amalgamation.