The long road to building a new $5 million Ontario Provincial Police detachment in the County of Brant is becoming shorter.
“We’re very close,” said Coun. David Miller, who sits on the county’s Brant OPP detachment committee. “We’re still negotiating with private landowners, mostly in the area of (Highway 403) and Rest Acres Road.
“There is momentum to get it going. The preferred location is in the Rest Acres Road corridor, which includes the Brant 403 Business Park.”
Michael Bradley, general manager of corporate services with the County of Brant, said the committee is still discussing whether construction of a new 18,000-square-foot building should be funded completely by the municipality at a cost of nearly $5 million or through a joint county-provincial build at a cost of $2.7 million to the county.
The cost of purchasing a five-acre site needed for the building depends on the location selected by council.
Buying a site adjacent to the Brant Sports Complex on Rest Acres Road is estimated to cost up to $1.5 million.
If council decides to build the detachment in the Brant 403 Business Park, located at Highway 403 and Rest Acres Road, a land purchase would not be necessary because the site is already owned by the county.
“At the Nov. 6 council meeting, we will ask for permission to bring a full analysis of our options to the next corporate development committee meeting,” Bradley said. “After that meeting, the committee should be in a position to bring a recommendation to council after some discussion.”
Although the county’s new business park is under consideration as a location for the police station, Miller said there are problems with that option.
“If we build in the business park, instead of in a residential area, we are forgoing more tax revenue,” Miller said. “Industrial land pays a higher tax rate than residential. I don’t think we can ignore the economics of that.”
County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said delays that were out of the municipality’s control have hampered progress during negotiations concerning the new detachment.
“There was a considerable delay in getting information from the province about both a provincially-funded build and a joint county-provincial build,” Eddy said. “I don’t want the county to be seen as the delaying factor, although a site has not yet been picked.
“The OPP are probably extremely anxious to move on.”
Other options still on the table include a completely provincially-funded detachment, but the county would have no control over the project. Another option is to renovate the current OPP detachment on Mechanic Street in Paris.
The OPP’s current building is more than 50 years old and was home to the former Paris Police Service. In 2000, the detachment became County of Brant OPP headquarters following municipal amalgamation.