County councillors have given tentative approval to locate a new OPP station at Wellington Place.
County planner Gary Cousins presented council with three possible sites at the county-owned lands. First he explained the Rockwood detachment, completed in 2005, sits on 1.75-acres and has 55 parking spaces, 43 staff, and has room to expand that by 50%.
The Centre Wellington detachment in downtown Fergus has 39 staff.
Cousins said the three parcels of land surrounding Wellington Place contain 29 acres, 17 acres, and 5.6 acres.
With the first site, zoning is in place, but it needs sewage connections, likely at a cost of $300,000. Also, it would not be visible from County Road 18.
The 17-acre site has its zoning but needs extensive servicing.
Cousins said the 5.6-acre site, located immediately west of the green barn at the county museum, is preferred.
He said the zoning and services are in place and it is a visible location from the road, and at the same time, it does not block the view of the county museum.
Cousins said the building could be situated on the hill and there could be a storm water retention pond near County Road 18.
Cousins did note there might be extra costs involved if the county decides it wants architecture that is “sympathetic” to the county museum building.
The Wellington Terrace seniors’ home is also on the property, and Cousins said there was some concern about incompatible uses.
But, he said, the station would be 600 to 700 feet away from the Terrace. He said the group discussed sirens, and he was told it is possible to dispatch vehicles without sirens blasting, and normally, a police cruiser would not use a siren when going back to the detachment.
Further, he said, putting the building closer to County Road 18 would mean cruisers would not have to pass the Terrace when leaving the property.
Cousins said all three sites would work, but he would support the third one, as did the engineers, politicians, and police officials involved.
Councillor Jean Innes likes the proposal. She said she likes its visibility, but also echoed Cousins’ concerns about design costs. She noted there are a number of issues to tie in there.
She also wondered if it could be moved “down the hill” a little, closer to County Road 18.
Councillor Mark MacKenzie asked if it is possible for the information, seniors’ and heritage committee to see the proposal.
Councillor Walter Trachsel said the committee could look at all three sites, but he agrees with Cousins that the third site appears to be best.
He added he did not want the OPP station blocking people’s view of the museum, which was the reason it was placed well back from the road. But, he noted, it will still be visible to the motoring public.
He called it “a good spot.”
Councillor Lynda White noted if the county receives a grant to build the detachment, it will have until March 31, 2011 to get it ready.
Cousins said it might be possible to move the building closer to the county road.
Council then voted in favour of the third option as the preferred site for the new OPP building.