Wellington County held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 14 to celebrate the start of construction on the new Centre Wellington OPP operations centre, located adjacent to the Wellington County Museum and Archives.
The new $4.6-million detachment will replace the Fergus OPP detachment on St. Andrew Street in Fergus, and is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2011.
Wellington County Police Services Board chairman Lynda White was pleased to see many people attend the event.
“We were kind of worried about what the weather would be doing and whether we’d be under umbrellas, but we’re here, and it’s great. We’re just so pleased to have you here for this very important day in lot of people’s lives.”
She said the project has been on the county forecast for the past five years. “This is very exciting for me, the OPP, the police services board and Wellington County. This new OPP facility will ensure responsive, effective and professional service to local residents.”
White recalled being in Aboyne six years ago when the shovels were being placed in the ground for the new Wellington Terrace Long Term Care Home. She welcomed Wellington County Warden Joanne Ross-Zuj, who said “We’re very excited about everything that’s going on up here.”
Ross-Zuj said a number of projects have taken place on the county property in Aboyne, and she anticipates even more to come.
One of those is the new archives due to open June 25, the soon to be constructed OPP Centre Wellington detachment, “and a plan in the works for we don’t know what, but something’s going to be constructed on this site and it is a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to give back to our residents.”
The warden added, “This is for something we are particularly proud of, which is our police service. Our police have worked in a very cramped condition this past few years … with very little complaint, I must say.”
Ross-Zuj said, “We’re proud to enable you to enhance what you do for us. Wellington County constantly looks for ways to improve public services. This new, centrally-located operations centre will enhance community policing needs in Centre Wellington for many years to come.”
She introduced the numerous Wellington County and Centre Wellington councillors attending, as well as staff from both levels of government.
“We’re particularly proud to have our MPP Ted Arnott here.”
White added, “This has been an exciting time for us, but I’m looking back (through the crowd) and I see the former chair of the police service board, Dave Adsett. Dave laid the path for this building.”
She introduced someone she had known for a long time – and a former Arthur boy, Wellington Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.
“Ted cares so much about the people of his riding. He’ll go out of his way to make sure what he can do for all of us,” she said.
Arnott quipped, “Once an Arthur boy, always an Arthur boy, I have to say … even though I live in Fergus.”
He was pleased to see those in attendance. “We’re here to celebrate this great new building project, here in the County of Wellington.” He read from a scroll he later presented to county OPP?Inspector Scott Smith.
“Today we celebrate our Wellington County OPP and the new operations centre which will soon house their activities.
“We celebrate the work they do to keep our communities, homes, our businesses, and our farms, safe. As the Member of Provincial Parliament for Wellington Halton Hills, it is a privilege to serve you. I want to express my sincere appreciation for all in our Ontario Provincial Police for your professionalism, your teamwork and most of all, your courage.”
Arnott added, “Your job is always challenging, occasionally thankless and sometimes dangerous.
“Therefore we shouldn’t miss a chance to show our gratitude, so that the pride that you demonstrate each time you put on the uniform is returned in equal measure with public respect, that you have earned what you have richly deserved.”
White said Smith worked very hard with the architect on what is involved with this building.
“There is so much more in a police building than any other building,” she said.
Smith said “I am very pleased to be here today and representing the OPP. This is an historic moment in creating this new building for our folks here in Centre Wellington.”
He said he had spoken with a number of the constables “and they are excited with the prospect of moving into a wonderful new building.”
He said the police services board is to be thanked, along with the support of the county.
“It gives us the room to expand, and to do great things for the community, and to look after the crime and traffic issues in Wellington County.
“By building this new operations centre, the County of Wellington continues its commitment to effective policing and ensuring the safety and security of all residents and property,” said Smith.
Also speaking was Paul Sapounzi, of Ventin Group Architects. White said Sapounzi worked hard creating the drawings for the building.
“Thank you once again for believing in us. We’ve been working with Wellington County for almost 30 years on and off,” Sapounzi said.
He added that in the last several years, the county has worked on a new breed of buildings that are all very special.
“We want something that is going to last and we want something that will represent the quality of the community in this county.”
In his travels throughout the province, he believes Wellington remains number one in providing quality buildings for the community.
“This particular facility is going to play a very important role in this community in terms of providing an image and icon for public safety. It’s also going to continue to build this very interesting campus you’ve started here. It’s a really interesting civic campus.”
He noted all of the pieces that are currently on site and those still proposed will fit with each other very well.
“There’s a real brotherhood and community of buildings,” Sapounzi said.
The Ventin Group designed the new two-storey, 20,000 square-foot facility, and Tambro Construction Ltd., of Guelph, will be the contractor.
In keeping with its commitment to the environment, the new detachment will be constructed using the Green Legacy building standards, and will include a conservation quality environmental system to maintain acceptable standards of temperature, humidity and other air quality controls.
The exterior of the building will be natural bed ledgerock, which complements the nationally historic Wellington County Museum and Archives next door.