Council approves new police station
A growing community means a growing demand for police services. That’s the basic rationale behind Innisfil Council’s approval of a $4.75 million renovation and addition to the South Simcoe Police headquarters on Innisfil Beach Road. After months of sometimes acrimonious debate, council finally accepted a proposal by Innisfil-Bradford West Gwillimbury Police Services Board for a much larger, and modern facility. A second floor addition of approximately 7,000 square feet will be built, bringing the total area of the building to 14,000 square feet – for a cost of $4.5 million. A last minute modification was to add another $250,000 for an exterior elevator and stairwell to give more interior space. Originally, the police board had requested $6.6 million for a brand new building to replace the 30-year-old structure. In a presentation to council, director of community services Kerry Columbus reminded council of the controversy surrounding the proposed $6.6 million cost. “Actually, council had a conniption fit,” replied Coun. Lynn Dollin. An adhoc committee composed of council, South Simcoe Police, and members of the police board met frequently in the ensuing months to come up with the compromise solution. Last December, council received a $2.3 million provincial grant, which will be used to offset the cost of the police station as well as new sewers in Big Cedar. Police Chief Bruce Davis said every inch of the new station will be well-utilized by South Simcoe Police units such as criminal investigation, traffic, community services and court services. Both Coun. Dollin and Rod Boynton questioned the need for a separate chief’s office, with private washroom facilities, as part of the plan. Chief Davis has an office at the new headquarters in Bradford, which opened last year. Coun. Dan Davidson said he would be watching diligently for any cost overruns on the project. Boynton also wanted assurances the station would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Davis replied he would do his best to meet Boynton’s request, but occasionally, illness and staff pressures may force the station to be closed to the public. “The police station we have now is basically useless,” Deputy Mayor Gord Wauchope added. “There are poor working conditions. I think the modified (option) is workable.” “This committee has looked diligently at the many options,” said Mayor Brian Jackson. “We have to move forward to support our police services.” It’s expected the new building would be able to serve police needs for the next 10 years. The architectural firm of McKnight, Charron, Laurin Inc. will continue to develop the project. Only Dollin and Davidson opposed the recommended design for the new police station.