Construction to start on new OPP headquarters next spring

Gore Bay, Manitowaning, Mindemoya detachment offices won’t be affected

MANITOULIN—The date for construction to begin on the new Little Current Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment building has been set for April 5, 2019.

Brent Ross, communications branch with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, explained, “the new OPP detachment for Manitoulin Island for which funding of $20 million is being provided, is to be constructed on 488 Boozeneck Road in Little Current (Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands) beginning April 5, 2019 and is to be completed by July 15, 2020.”

“That’s great news,” said Manitoulin-Espanola OPP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Kevin Webb when contacted by The Expositor. “I think it’s positive now that we have a date and can start moving forward as to getting it in place and up and running.”

“All this means is that Little Current is getting a new detachment,” the staff sergeant added, referencing many municipalities’ fears that the other detachments would be shuttered with this project. “For all other detachments, it will be business as usual.”

Bird Construction won the contract with the Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation to design, build and finance nine Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachments in nine Ontario communities, among them Little Current, on behalf of the ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the OPP. Bird will undertake the design and build for the project and will also own the concession responsible for the financing of the project through Bird Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary.

Staff Sergeant Webb said the new detachment will modernize the Manitoulin-Espanola OPP’s ability to police the community and give opportunities to the OPP’s policing partners, such as Manitoulin Northshore Victim Services, among others.

The new building is also important to the mental health and wellbeing of his officers, Staff Sergeant Webb continued. “It will be a modern facility that provides more space, state-of-the-art equipment, and a fitness facility. The OPP also strives to exceed adequacy standards and this new building will be well above adequacy standards.”

The new lockup, too, will create a safe environment for both officer and prisoners.

Along with Little Current, new detachments will be located in Moosonee, Fort Frances, Hawkesbury, Huron County, West Parry Sound, Mississauga, Marathon and Orillia and will replace facilities “at the end of their useful lifespan,” according to a press release.

“State-of-the-art facilities that respond to the increasing demands of modern police operations are an important part of keeping communities safe,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. “The safety of the public will always be a key priority of our government.”

Equipped with improved amenities that address health and safety issues, the new detachments will remedy inefficiencies due to obsolete design and technology, as well as lack of space.

“Infrastructure modernization projects, including these OPP detachments, are critical to making life better for the residents of Ontario. Infrastructure investments stimulate our economy, create jobs and help to make Ontario competitive again,” noted Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure.

“This project allows for the continued renewal of our aging detachments under one major infrastructure project,” said OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes. “This bundled approach to renewing our aging facilities will ensure the OPP continues to provide modern, efficient municipal and provincial policing services to local communities across the province.”

The detachments will feature a secure functions area with holding cells and interview rooms, a public admittance area, an administration area for support staff and management, an operational area with offices and evidence storage vaults, according to a press release from Bird Construction.