Official plan amendment is next step for OPP forensic unit in Mount Forest

Well­ington North’s support of a county official plan amendment is just the next step in bringing a new forensic unit online at the county OPP’s Mount Forest detachment.

The amendment would clear up split highway commercial and industrial designations of the 4.5 acre property fronting on Highway 6 at the north end of Mount Forest. The amendment would simply have all the property designated as highway commercial.

The forensic building is to be located behind the existing OPP building and will be 12,750 square feet.

Caroline Draper, a land use planner with GSP group, was at the meeting on behalf of the Ontario Realty Corporation. She said the site, on the east side of Highway 6 currently has the existing detachment building, constructed in 1965.

Draper said there are a num­ber of sheds and a large telecommunications tower on site. The property is surrounded by a number of highway commercial and industrial uses.

She understood there are future industrial development plans north of the site.

Draper said the corporation is asking the site be in a single designation. She cited a concept plan and said the province is intending to build a forensic identification unit. That building would be just under 13,000 square feet and accommodate approximately seven additional staff.

Wellington County planner Mark Van Patter said the amendment is technical in nature. He said the official plan provides for public service faci­lities.

Van Patter believes there is no compatibility issue based on the surrounding land use. He added the site can continue to accommodate the needs of the OPP and the traffic impact should be minimal.

The planner added that no impacts are anticipated on the natural environment areas.

He said if council supports the change, it should send the message to the county as soon as possible. That would allow the planning committee to deal with the matter this week, and county council could deal with it later this month.