Town decision on policing in 2013

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Prescott's policing will be a major motif heading into 2013.

The town, which is currently under Ontario Provincial Police jurisdiction, will be deciding on the direction it wants to take in policing early this year, as the end of its service contract with the OPP looms in the spring.

In a year-end interview, Mayor Brett Todd said council will be examining the possibility of a regional force with the Brockville Police Service as a way to save money.

“It's something that we've got to look at in the near future and really get a handle on it,” he said, adding that he's spoken with Brockville mayor David Henderson and some city councillors about a possible partnership.

Todd said more talks will take place in 2013. The cost for the OPP’s services is taking up a quarter of the budget right now, the mayor said.

“It has possibilities. You can't say where it's going to go until you've actually had the discussions,” Todd said.

“We're all very cognizant of how expensive policing is. We wouldn't be doing our job if we weren't working for cost savings.”

Also on the horizon for the Fort Town in the new year is the prospect of about 100 new jobs.

Todd said that Speedy Transport, Protocol Biomass Corporation and an Ultramar will all be bringing in local jobs.

“The economic development in the north end is starting to take off and the job impact should be quite substantial,” said Todd.

Speedy Transport is constructing a transport depot beginning in the new year that’s expected to bring around 25 jobs. Protocol Biomass, a wood pellet manufacturing plant, is supposed to start manufacturing pellets later in 2012 and begin its operation with 45 jobs.

The Ultramar, which Todd said will be in the old OPP building, is expected to be hiring for around 40 positions.

North-end development has been a priority of the mayor’s his term began two years ago, and something that will remain a priority throughout 2013.

“We're always trying and working hard at bringing in new jobs and new opportunities and getting back to growth,” Todd said.

“I think 2013 will see a lot of actual construction. We've laid the groundwork to really move Prescott ahead.”

Todd said more development on the lands north of the 401 could also be in the cards.

Much of the land is owned by Subhkin Canada Inc., which owns the former OPP building, which it has leased to Ultramar. Todd said that the company is hoping to lease more of its land soon.

“We're not at the point that anything can be announced, but it is moving ahead quite well.”

North-end development will bring more traffic to the town's struggling downtown core as well, Todd said.

More meetings between council and the business improvement organization will happen in 2013 to further discuss the downtown action plan.

“The more we can build up the town overall, the better it will be for the downtown and I think it's something that you have to look at as a whole Prescott solution,” the mayor said.



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