Cobourg Police Want New Facility

About a year ago, the County decided to look into the idea of a Northumberland Police Force to replace the current Policing by the OPP, Cobourg and Port Hope Police forces. At the time Cobourg’s Mayor Lucas Cleveland suggested that one possible transition would be to start with merging the Port Hope and Cobourg Police forces. Also around the same time, Cobourg Police issued an RFP to assess whether the current building needed to be changed. That study has now been completed and will be provided to the Police Board at their meeting on February 20.  The recommendation is that a new building should be built at a new location for approx. $34M – and that’s assuming there’s no amalgamation with the Port Hope Police.

The basic problem is that the existing building which was constructed in 1904 is well past its useful life with many deficiencies.

The report by RPL Architects for Cobourg Police called: “Building Needs Assessment Report” looks at Police needs up to 2048 and acknowledges that there are five options:

  1. Expand and renovate the existing building at 107 King Street West – considered impractical, extremely difficult to implement and likely most expensive.
  2. Adapt another building for use by the Service – this was considered to not be feasible and the report does not discuss this option.
  3. Construct a new purpose-designed facility – Estimated construction cost (Q4 2024 + 10% escalation): $34.4 million. This cost excludes an indoor firing range, which has been included as an option. If included in the project, this would add another $5 to $8 million depending on the number of firing lanes included and the provision of other use-of-force training areas. Recommended.
  4. Develop a facility concept to accommodate a potential West Northumberland Police Service, amalgamating the services of Cobourg, Port Hope and areas currently serviced through contract with the OPP – this option was not priced.
  5. Contract policing services to the Ontario Provincial Police – this option was not considered.

Note that the recommendation includes space for the Business unit now housed on the second floor at Venture 13. The report says that the unit is best co-located with the rest of the Police staff and that the space “could be better used by the Town”.

The new building would:

  • Accommodate 225 people – up from 143 currently.
  • Be 85,800 sq. ft. compared to the 34,180 sq. ft. currently.
  • If an 8-lane 50m firing range is included, another 11,000 sq. ft. (1,000 sqm) would be required.
  • Need around 5 to 8 acres of land – no site has been identified but the report gives criteria for its location (see Section 4.1.2 on page 42). To proceed as recommended, the first step would be to identify a location.

The report notes:

The figures above [cost estimates] are based on providing services to the Town of Cobourg only, within the current jurisdictional boundaries. Should annexation of other communities be considered, the impact on staffing levels and operational needs of the police building will be affected. How the Service intends to approach this issue must be decided prior to embarking on any future facility location or design.

That is, before the Town can commit to spending $34M, it needs to make a decision on whether Cobourg Police will be amalgamating with Port Hope or possibly also other West Northumberland Municipalities. There is no word yet on the County’s report on Policing for all of Northumberland nor any word on progress evaluating any other merger.

The recommendation by Chief VanderGraaf to the Police board is that the board “forward these documents to Town Council for further action”.

It’s unlikely that Cobourg Council will agree to quickly act on designing a new facility.

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Cathy
1 month ago

I do think that CPS needs a better space, the current space is inadequate. However, I do feel that CPS needs to show us what they are doing for the residents of Cobourg. How about having police, fire, ambulance all under one roof? The building needs to be close to main arterial streets. However, at the cost of $34million, that’s a bit much to swallow.

RedBaron
1 month ago

Has anyone ever considered forming a small unbiased Citizens Committee to survey the uniformed officers of the CPS for their input? They are Cobourg employees paid with Cobourg tax dollars, but they’re also the people most affected by whatever option is chosen. I’m assuming as professionals they’ve been advised not to comment on this topic on a public forum.
 
There clearly seems to be a) concern about the estimated cost of a new facility and some of the amenities, b) support for transitioning CPS officers to the O.P.P., and c) some interest in the formation of a West Northumberland Police Service.
 
Wouldn’t it be of some interest knowing how CPS uniformed officers (as a group) feel about their future before their future is decided for them?
 

cornbread
1 month ago

Mayor Cleveland…Get off your “you know what” and tell the people of Cobourg, most of which read this great site, that you will “now” start the investigation into OPP policing for Cobourg in the future…New Police Station or Not. It’s about time this segment of our town’s budget expense is put in line with our needs both now and in the future.

Pete M
1 month ago

Heres a current article speaking to Orangeville a town of about 30000 that switched to OPP 3 yrs ago.

https://www.pentictonherald.ca/spare_news/article_f8fce26f-622c-59de-8865-5430ad87873c.html

The Town treasurer is quoted, “The savings generated through the OPP contract provide an opportunity to right-size the town’s budget and prepare for the future.”

Orangeville trying to be fiscally responsible….Cobourg playing politics with the potential for long term negative consequences.

James Bisson
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

It would seem that the proposal to build a new police facility is premature as there are discussions among officials to determine if a regional police force vs. local police is the path forward. Again, we see projects being promoted rather than plans for public feedback which ends up being costly with no assessment on how this will improve services.
The attached is the amount of violent and nonviolent crime reported by the CPS between Nov 2 to Feb 2 (90 days)) based on the heat map database in Cobourg. I sincerely doubt a new building will change the situation in Cobourg and will more likely distract those in authority and the public from addressing crime issues. Feel free to run your own analysis.
The CPS is the largest expense on the budget. The Business Unit provides them the ability to self fund operations as warranted. In their 2022 Annual report, the CPS pulled in over $1 million to balance their budget. Any public agency, ministry, or department would love to have a side fund to fund initiatives at their discretion.
We should be asking questions regarding the effectiveness of the leadership in providing core service delivery rather than them asking for a new building. I would prefer concrete action plans to curb crime and drugs rather than plans to fund a building without context.

IMG_0761
Pete M
1 month ago

CPS Business Services is a revenue generator.i believe it is their intent to use what funds they have in reserve to begin the build. CPS will use the annual income from business services to service the debt/ mortgage cost of the new building for next 25 yrs.

This is an attempt by CPS to build a facility in order to compete with OPP to be the policing provider of choice to Northumberland County.

As they say “Go big or go home”. This is a 34 million plus attempt to stave off the OPP from taking over policing of Cobourg and Pt Hope.

This is all politics…at the expense of the taxpayer.

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

Pete M
See my reply to Leweez near the end of this thread on the funding of this project.
-The $34M is just the ante. There are numerous cost not included. $40M is more likely the real cost.
-The crimcheck reserve is fairly low due to the commitment to keep about $500K in reserve for severance, should the business shut down.
-Most of the crimcheck net profit is used to offset the CPS’s capital costs and a portion of the operations costs.
-The debt service on a $34M loan (25yr 5%) is upwards of $2M per year.
-The crimcheck net profit can fund either the debt service or the cap & ops costs, but not both.
-Property tax will have to cover the extra $2M

I like your idea that the CPS is trying to position itself to be the County cops, rather than the OPP.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

The Opp has a state of the art training centre where all OPP re- cert evry 12 months. They have a fully staffed Forensic Identification Centre in Peterborough .They have canine, they have Emergency Response Team members in each detachment. They have Tactics and Rescue (TRU)ie swat teams in Barrie and Odessa
And they have a greater capacity for Intelligence lead policing, which would help greatly in dealing with the drug issues of the community.
Its all been built and paid for by our tax dollars and there for are using , granted at a cost. But at a cost less that building our own brand new 34 million policing centre and duplicating what the OPP has. As Bryan indicates 2 million to cover the build cost, plus the day to day operating costs- heat, hydro, a/c, IT etc and then add in the current salary and operating costs and before u know it policing costs approaching 10 million a yr.
I really believe it would do our council well to reach out to their counterparts in Orangeville to see how the OPP is working there and the impact on the Town finances.
Cobourg should also be asking for an OPP costing , while exploring a build of a police centre of excellence.

Sandpiper
1 month ago

Other Communities have done well if not Better with the OPP
Huntsville, Bracebridge , Campbellford , Brighton
Apparently they have more of a No nonsense approach to Policing which these communities
appreciate
And the By Law department picked up any of the Slack such as Traffic control on Parades
and parking , Garbage etc Their usual stuff around here .

Rational
1 month ago

Based on the 2021 Census, and Cobourg’s 2024 Cobourg Police Services Operating Budget, the annual cost per household is $813 ($7,434K net police budget/9,135 households).

The OPP establish its Municipality cost based on number of households in the municipality. Based on OPP links I pulled up, the average annual Municipality cost per household is $347 (includes a base household cost, plus services added by the Municipality). Over the last 7 years this annual household cost has remained fairly constant, between $353 to $362 annually. The following link takes you to supporting information, including an excel report of all Municipalities (296) in Ontario and their costs over the past 7 years under.

https://www.opp.ca/index.php?&lng=en&id=115&entryid=58179f628f94acf555bef561

I recognize services may differ between the OPP and CPS – but are we getting value from CPS in services in Cobourg? 

This is the right time to for Council/Staff to submit a Request For Proposal from the OPP given the potential increase (see Brian’s post) to the CPS annual operating budget due the normal budget increase this year and the proposed carrying costs for a new building, which does not include additional costs for a facility that is 50,000 sq, ft. larger than the current one.

Given the significant potential operating cost savings, coupled with the increased Capital Expenditures/Debt proposed by CPS, IMO it would be irresponsible of Council to not put forward a motion requesting the Finance Department contact the OPP, initiate an all-inclusive policing proposal, and present findings to Council/Public for consideration prior to reaching any decisions on future policing in Cobourg.
 

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Ben
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

OK then compare apples to apples this time. We do not want County levels of service in an urban area. As has been pointed out in this thread Hamilton Twp when policed by the OPP was sharing one officer with three municipalities and the 401 on the weekends. Of course it was cheaper!

Rational
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

That’s the purpose of an RFP. Cobourg indicates what services they want and the RFP is built around the request.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Ben
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Well if you think back to the last round of RFPs and submissions it definitely was not a comparison. The sticking point was Cobourg’s level of service, especially a four minute response time. The OPP could not commit to that standard and hence the choice made at the time to stay with Cobourg.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

I can count on one hand the number of times I required service by Cobourg police and it was never provided in 4 minutes!!!!!!! Much much much longer so if that is your measure of service I call BS.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

The chief recently said an average response time is 7 minutes

RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

O.P.P policing is by contract with the municipality. If the CPS has a specific response time standard in their agreement, would the repercussions if they failed to meet the standard be as punitive as a breach of contract? And why would a former CPS officer wearing a different uniform respond to a call for service in Cobourg any differently?

Ben
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

I can guarantee that the OPP would never supply the manpower to service Cobourg the way the CPS does. Fewer Officers, larger area to cover, the extra officers would be pulled from the County not sitting around in Cobourg. The OPP knew that last time around and couldn’t compete, whatever the response time demanded was.

As to the argument and alleged BS about a four minute response time, that was the discussion the last time around, it may be seven minutes now but it will still be not met by a contract OPP with the constraints they have today.

BTW if all the armchair proponents want to look at interesting stuff go the Library and pull all the microfiche from the past 40 years and read about the efforts to reform Policing in that time.

This topic has a context that most of you have missed!

RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

In 1829 (194 years ago) Sir Robert Peel established the London Metropolitan Police Force and became known as the “Father of Modern Policing”. His 9 Policing Principals are still considered a basis for effective policing today. Principal Number 9 states “To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them”.
 
As Rational (Ref: above) already explained, Cobourg develops an RFP outlining their expected level of service, and then a negotiated contract with the O.P.P. agrees to the terms of the contract.

What guarantee are you prepared to sign stating the terms of the contract will NOT be met, and what punitive measures are you prepared to include in your guarantee if the O.P.P. successfully satisfy the terms of their contract?
 
Can you also kindly explain the “context that most of us have missed”? You’re clearly opposed to policing by the O.P.P. In Cobourg, but so far your objections would appear to be more emotional than factual. 

Bryan
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

RedBaron, and Ben

There is discussion about negotiating with the OPP for the desired service level and you (RB) have introduced the idea of penalties for failure to perform.
Why should this idea of a service contract be applied only to the OPP?

Is there a services contract with the CPS?
If so, what are the contracted services, service levels, success metrics and service failure penalties set out in the contract?

How do we measure the CPS’s performance and assess the cost benefit?

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
RedBaron
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Apologies Bryan, it wasn’t my intention to introduce the idea of penalties for failure to perform. It was only to illustrate the difference between a Policing Budget Plan agreement with Council, and a signed Contract with the Municipality.

For example, if a Municipal Police Service should exceed their estimated annual budget (e.g. overtime costs) the Chief of Police will answer to the Police Services Board (and Council) to explain the reason(s) for the overrun.

However, if a Contract Police Service fails to meet the minimum standards of their Contract, there can be far more serious repercussions for the Police Service, including loss of their contract.

Bryan
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

RedBaron,

Why should there be a difference in accountability and consequences for a contractor vs an inhouse service provider?

The bill payers deserve the same cost benefit regardless of who the provider is. Prudent good management and best practices require equal treatment.

Currently there is minimal (if any) accountability and consequence to a Town department, including the CPS, for poor management such as overspending budget. In particular, the Town has no control of any sort if the CPS overspends its budget or fails to meet “agreed upon”(??) service levels.

Does the Town have a service level agreement with the CPS? What are the CPS service level KPIs?

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
RedBaron
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Good question Bryan. One for the Mayor and Council to answer!

Bryan
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

Red Baron,

These are operational questions, not policy. The questions should be put to the CAO and the CPSB

RedBaron
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Yes of course, they should be able to provide the information, but would you first approach Council to advise them of your concerns? I see no reason why you cannot approach the CAO directly. You should be able to attend a CPSB meeting, but I would suggest contacting the CPSB Chair first to advise whether you can participate in the meeting or only attend as an observer.

Ben
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

“but so far your objections would appear to be more emotional than factual”

Hmmm I thought my points were factual, even though you think I pull them out of the air – or some other body orifice, and makeup ‘fake news’. Where is the emotion in my comments that you talk of. As I said earlier you seem to be losing the the thread and resorting to personal statements from your perceptions of who you think I am.

Not a good sign, and let’s agree to disagree, I will not be posting in this old thread anymore!

Last edited 1 month ago by Ben
RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Everyone is of course entitled to an opinion, and your opinions on the subject are quite clear, but Ben’s opinions are more easily perceived as being factual, which ultimately only serves to undermine your credibility.

I’m good with agreeing to disagree.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Cobourg”s Level of Service is pretty iffy and Selective over the last yr
or 2 on how or what they might wish to deal with certain situations .
Subject to Interpretation

RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

As has been pointed out in this thread Hamilton Twp when policed by the OPP was sharing one officer with three municipalities and the 401 on the weekends.“.

As also pointed out in this thread, that statement is decades old misinformation. The choice of a police service is a very sensitive issue, considering how easily logic can become a victim of emotion.

Ben
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

Hope, Hamilton, and Alnwick/Haldimand Townships have at least 4-5 officers covering those 3 areas (or “zones”) at any one time,”

So twelve officers and twelve cars cover the whole area of half the County, no wonder people have given up reporting small thefts and petty crime – “phone it in” they are told.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ben
Rob
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

There is an important element that often gets lost in the OPP/dollars and cents discussion and that is community policing. We are not a rural community. We have 13 schools (including 2 private). Multiple retirement communities. A large and very popular beach and a campground. A number of large community events each year. Significant 401 visitor inflow. Many bars and restaurants. A NEW low (no) barrier shelter. A growing homelessness and mental health/addiction problem. And there are other considerations….

These complexities and variables aren’t simply policed by an officer in a car and on patrol and they can’t often be measured by way of response time. This discussion and decision is about more than money – it is also about service, safety (real and perceived), community, relationships and trust.

CPS have much work to do and they are not perfect…but I would be very careful what you ask for, because you might just get it.

Kathleen
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

I think if you look it up, you’ll find that Cobourg has more Officers per thousand people than Toronto does. And Toronto has a big beach too – with no lifeguards. They’ll keep selling it cause we keep buying it.

RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Do you just make this stuff up, throw it out there, and expect anyone to believe it, or is fake news the only arrow left in your quiver?

Ben
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

RedBaron, an interesting pseudonym?

Hmm lost the thread of the argument to make spurious remarks.

Talk about the facts and how long it takes for rural policing to respond to calls called in.

Bryan
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Ben,

Perhaps also consider how long it takes the CPS to respond to robberies at the store across the street.

RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

One of the givens that rural residents fully understand and accept is we do not have Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Ambulance) parked at the end of our driveway, but rural response times are a far cry from the fake news “next day service” quoted by naysayers.

Let me give you a personal example that happened several years ago which in no way am I suggesting is a typical experience .

Early one morning I called the O.P.P (1.888.310.1122 – Central Region Dispatch in Smith Falls). The reason for the call escapes me, but it definitely wasn’t an emergency “Life or Death” situation. I spoke on the phone for maybe 3 minutes describing the reason for the call and was advised an officer would attend. I thanked the dispatcher, hung up the phone, and as I literally stepped out my office, my wife advised someone was knocking at the front door. When I opened it there stood an O.P.P. Officer. True story.

We’ve always had good experiences for the few times we’ve had to call the O.P.P., and I’m sure the reason is due in no small part to Cobourg O.P.P. Detachment Commander Insp. Jim Szarka, who introduced us to 21st century policing over 23 years ago. It has always been very expensive to train and equip a police officer, especially with the technology available today, so his officers were out on patrol rather than siting at the station waiting for a call or walk-in traffic.

Many of us have been through the policing issue several times already so this isn’t our first rodeo. When we see the same misinformation and fake news you’ve been posting I feel an obligation to address it.

If the truth offends you then stop posting hearsay and decades old misinformation.

Last edited 1 month ago by RedBaron
RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Rural residents understand and accept we do not have Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Ambulance) parked at the end of our driveway. However rural response times for the O.P.P. are not what urban residents might want to believe. Police officers are exceptionally expensive to train and equip, but thanks to all of the latest technology the O.P.P. have at their disposal, officers are able to spend more time out on patrol in the community they serve, which in turn can reduce response times.
 
If you’re worried it might be a “one size fits all” in terms of response times for an urban/rural mix of communities, I’m unaware whether that’s the case, but inclined to doubt it.
 
Response times abound with good and bad personal experiences when so many factors can come into play to impact the timing, so unless they can be proven to be consistently slow based on a mutually agreed standard, it’s perhaps a better topic for discussion with the Police Services Board.
 
As for your reference to my alleged ” spurious remarks”, if the truth offends you, then kindly prefix your alleged “facts” with “In my opinion…”.
 
That would be more truthful.

Sandpiper
1 month ago

I was told that approx 30 % of our Police force is off on one form of Disability or another , A lot was PTSD with no apparent documented medical support , All receiving Pay cheques and not off on Workers Comp This alone apparently adds a huge expense in the Millions annually to the Tax Bill .
Can the Town explain why this is year after year ???
Centralize and Conserve should be their slogan
— Serve and Protect seems politically out of date

cornbread
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

How about a report from our Chief of Police or Ron Kerr the head of the Police Services Board, on the number of police hires that are OFF THE JOB because of one reason or the other. It’s called “Transparency”.

Ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Sandpiper if you do your usual meticulous research you will discover that the OPP, and most other Police Services, have the same problem. It is not unique to Cobourg.

RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

That is true, however with a small municipal police service there is a significant additional cost for the overtime pay required when fewer officers are available to provide adequate policing. The O.P.P. have a much larger resource of available officers who can simply be temporarily reassigned to serve as replacements.

Ben
Reply to  RedBaron
1 month ago

That may be the case but the overhead and wage burden has to be paid, and it still averages out at about 10%. Big Service – Big Costs.

RedBaron
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

I think you missed my point. No overtime pay is required when the O.P.P. reassigns officers to other duties. And Big Service – Big Costs is not only misleading, but completely nonsensical. Are you suggesting municipalities have been switching to O.P.P. policing in order to increase their cost for policing?

Kathleen
1 month ago

Prediction: CPS will concede to merge with Port Hope and “service” Northumberland IF they can get all their new “Toys”. Council will cave. Then we, the Taxpayer, will continue to see our taxes rise exponentially.

Again, a referendum is required. Lay out all the costs and ramifications.

I know my Vote would be GO OPP.

Mark
1 month ago

At one time CPS also patrol Hamilton Township , but went back to OPP to get a less expensive service , why would the township want to deal with the CPS again in a West Northumberland force ?
I believe any city less than 500,000 should be have the opp as the police service with funding coming from from the province

Ted Quinn
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

I believe a reason the OPP was less expensive for the township at the time was due to the fact that the OPP had only one (1) patrol car covering all of Hamilton Township, Alnwick / Haldimand as well as Hope Township during the evening hours. You get what you pay for.
I like the idea of an amalgamated Northumberland Police Service.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ted Quinn
RedBaron
Reply to  Ted Quinn
1 month ago

That is decades old misinformation. Allocation of resources is based on officer hours (not cars) which in turn is based on the specific negotiated contract signed by each municipality. Hope, Hamilton, and Alnwick/Haldimand Townships have at least 4-5 officers covering those 3 areas (or “zones”) at any one time, in addition to additional officers in those 3 zones assigned to traffic enforcement. The concept is called “borderless policing”. In addition to the officers assigned to those 3 zones, other O.P.P. officers can also respond from adjacent municipalities in an emergency. So YES, with O.P.P. policing we certainly do get every bit of what we pay for, and more, and all for fewer of our tax dollars!

Linda
1 month ago

I think going the OPP route would be the best way to go. This was explored by Port Hope years ago and residence of Hope township protested against it

Bryan
Reply to  Linda
1 month ago

Linda,

I believe that prior to amalgamation, the Town of Port Hope had a local police force and Hope TWP was policed by the OPP. During amalgamation, the Town and TWP were merged. The residents of Ward 2 (former Hope TWP) wanted to stay with the OPP. and the Town (PH) wanted to keep the local force. That is how it has stayed.

RedBaron
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

In the agreement it was referred to as “Hybrid Policing”; where PHPS remained in Ward 1 (former Town) and O.P.P. remained in Ward 2 (former Township). Much of the focus here has been about the cost savings with O.P.P. policing, but service with the O.P.P. would also open up far greater opportunities for officers interested in expanding their careers and/or specializing in their specific area of interests.

RedBaron
Reply to  Linda
1 month ago

To clarify, shortly after the 2001 amalgamation there was attempt by MPH to replace the O.P.P. in Ward 2 (Hope Township) with the municipal PHPS., Township residents objected to and fought that, and eventually the status quo prevailed. Several years later MPH looked at replacing the PHPS in Ward 1 with O.P.P., and town residents objected to and fought that, and the status quo prevailed again.

cornbread
1 month ago

As I have been saying for years, when will the taxpayers of Cobourg “Wake-Up” to the high cost of the local police force? The writing is on the wall…OPP…The Only Way!
To join with Port Hope for local policing is just asking for the same problem we have now.

RedBaron
Reply to  cornbread
1 month ago

You are absolutely right! Ratepayers constantly complain about rising taxes, and rightfully so, yet continually refuse to consider the obvious solution to one of their most expensive budget items. Hope and Hamilton Township made the right choice decades ago, so leave us out of your “amalgamation” of police services. In Hope Township the word “Amalgamation” has been X-Rated since 2001. Ontario should follow Quebec’s example whereby any municipality of less than 50,000 residents is policed by the SQ. Why are small municipalities so intent on clinging to a century old policing model?

Rod
2 months ago

WOW!! Seriously a Shooting Range,no Club Lounge??? When has a member of the CP ever had to use their firearm? Maybe the real purpose is just for recreational past time for the many off duty officer. Any serious officer can join a local shooting club and I’m sure the membership fee would be gladly covered by the town.

Rod
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

We all remember the tragic hosp.shooting six years ago.and constable Both officer returned fire to the 70 yr old man on a gurney. and Officer Garrett 20 yrs ago, Obviously the excellent firearm training they received at the shooting facility that is part of the required course. True a shooting range is beneficial to improve your skills, However I doubt that a eight bay $5 to $8 Million dollars ( Trump Tower setting) will make you a better marksman. Maybe if this was a shared Public facility to incl. Club membership, User fees, Firearm Storage Lockers, Firearm training courses etc. The revenue produced might then make it somewhat feasible. ???

Rob
Reply to  Rod
1 month ago

I would also say this:

  • Feb. 10, 2024 – OPP shoot a suspect in Colborne
  • Aug. 16, 2023 – Beach shooting w/ multiple arrests
  • Jul. 30, 2023 – Port Hope Police shoot at suspect in car at MacDonalds
  • Jun. 27, 2022 – Man fatally shot in broad daylight King/Division in Cobourg

The times are a-changin…

Mark
Reply to  Rod
1 month ago

An officer must do training every 12 months to be able to carry a gun , so to have a gun range is not a bad thing
“2) A member of a police force shall not carry a firearm unless, during the twelve previous months, the member has successfully completed a training course on the use of firearms. O. Reg. 552/92, s. 9.”

Rod
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

Once trained by expert instructors on the safely and proper use of a firearm what other training is necessary? Refreshing on physical and basic use of the firearm is always a good thing. But the sole purpose of a shooting range is to improve ones skill of accurately hitting their intended target.

Rational
2 months ago

Interesting comment just made about “Empire” building. If CPS Leadership/PSBoard can finagle Council into an 85K square foot facility (up by 50K sq. ft.) plus a 12K Practice Firing Range, the ground work is laid for the “West Northumberland Police Service (WNPS)” (got to fill the Building for efficient use).

Makes one wonder if anyone has sights as the Regional Police Chief WNPS?

Makes one wonder with a new building no more discussion on OPP taking over Cobourg?

Makes one wonder if Council’s reaction will be the standard “they are the experts” so follow?

Makes one wonder if Policing will actually change/improve just because of a new Building/Firing Range.

Like someone posted – this is Cobourg not Chicago.

Ben
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Wait for the big announcement, it is coming

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Ben, please don’t keep us in suspense! What announcement is coming?

Concerned Cobourg Resident
2 months ago

$35M. What for? Divide that $ by approximate population of 20,000 then give us a refund of $1750 on our property taxes we get next to no representation on.

If the town is expanding its policing because of tent city and the other crime it brings, a problem itself created by welcoming them here then refusing to tell them to leave, then no thanks!

This is akin to hiring a company to dig a hole, then hiring another company to fill it up. Its just a “make work” project for these political magicians (politicians) to justify their existence, and show themselves as “useful”.

These “Hegelian Dialectic” that occur at both the provincial and federal level is mind-boggling. This dialectic, a term coined by the philosopher Hegel, explains how the public is “tricked” into funding a public “problem”, real or fabricated. First the problem is addressed (thesis) – ie. let’s address homelessness by letting tent city happen, then wait for the negative public reaction (anti-thesis), then finally, proposing a solution (synthesis) – ie. lets give more money to the police, to help police this problem we created.

As you can see, none of this needed to happen all along.

“The natural tendency of the state is inflation” – Murray Rothbard

Two pennies worth
2 months ago

At first reading I thought this was an early April Fools joke…new jail…$34.4million..85000sq feet..225 employees..for a town of 20,000…tell me this is the only solution to a too small police station? Seriously? Are we expecting Cobourg to become the crime capital of Ontario? Is this because the police we have now cannot handle some junkies?
Get a grip folks….get our own police out and about more…amalgamate with Port Hope..stop making it seem like we are in Chicago.
Train our present police with how to deal with our mostly ‘petty’ crime…get the judges to keep offenders in jail until they have been sentenced…
All this money for a new Police facility…you are taking a hammer to crack a nut…

Old Sailor
2 months ago

Council should add this project to their list of future capital expenditures the town is facing – including future stormwater management costs and harbour repairs. And then rank them , in priority and affordability.

Gerinator
Reply to  Old Sailor
2 months ago

Agreed. Further a new cop shop should be prioritized AFTER the pier is fixed.

Brenda Malowney
Reply to  Gerinator
1 month ago

The pier and the outdoor pool by the summer camping park by the waterfront will continue to be a conversation when the Spring comes. They both require added budget for repair or replace.

Andrew Allan
2 months ago

Many reports have been done over the years about amalgamation of police services, only to gather dust on a shelf somewhere.
Each service and or town does not want to give up thier power to do so.
We can only hope if amalgamation is discussed to save money that it will be taken seriously this time.
It only makes sense for amalgamation in order to save money in management, building costs,daily costs,equipment and the list goes on.

Marie
Reply to  Andrew Allan
2 months ago

… empire building/maintaining is alive and well…
as usual – why does it always take a higher level (Province) to call for efficiencies, economies of scale and other common sense practices…

Kathleen
2 months ago

“That is, before the Town can commit to spending $34M, it needs to make a decision on whether Cobourg Police will be amalgamating with Port Hope or possibly also other West”…..

Should we not have a Referendum? Personally, at this point, I have more faith in the collective sanity of the people than I do of Town or County Councils.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kathleen
2 months ago

Yes and not one of those Hidden Town Surveys either

Give me a break
Reply to  Kathleen
2 months ago

Referendum only after the costs of each solution ( 1. build as requested: 2 amalgamate with PHP: 3 OPP);is presented as well benefits and ongoing operating costs. What makes up more than 200 personnel in note …… breakdown by rank, auxiliary, admin and civilians. What will it cost to terminate any civilians and officers not absorbed by amalgamation or OPP? referendum vis emotion will not work.

Sandpiper
2 months ago

We all knew this was Coming . Didn’t we !
Here in lays the problem of Heritage buildings of Cobourg The Police station which is not fully used .Now —. And why 84,000 sq ft The new Port Hope and OPP stations combined do not make up 84 ,000 sq ft $$$$$$$$$$$$$ in fact its double the size and then what of V 13 space
Are we building a Prison ? May be another Transition house combination
—-Merge the Cobourg & Port Hope services
Remove some of the Duplication and Deadwood staff –Savings
Then add a second smaller Police Satellite station in a more practical existing location like the balance of the V 13 building Main floor that sits empty most of the year .
or salvage a Portion of the Old Golden Plough .

*****But lets sell off the Old station first I don’t want to carry the cost of that for ever or have this Town council Justify some free space to another Benevolent use at the Citizens expense !
Sell and have a lease back for 3 yrs while we figure it out .or build.
But if we go with the OPP we don’t have to do ANYTHING and we can still sell off the Old station and use those $$$ to pay for the OPP ******

Cobourg taxpayer
2 months ago

Cobourg council has waffled about CPS for many years. Combine with Port Hope Police, go with OPP, etc. It is beyond me how a town of 22000 has so many police officers yet crime increases, few cases are solved and the same criminals roam the streets. I only hope the Chief has enough financial wherewithal to realize the taxpayers of Cobourg can not pay for a new facility. Perhaps he could start a go fund me page and see how much support there is for a new headquarters because I sure don’t trust the police board to have any prudence.

Marilyn
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
2 months ago

I think you will find crime is increasing everywhere.

Concerned Cobourg Resident
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
2 months ago

The politicians need to justify their existence somehow.

curious in cobourg
2 months ago

Could someone comment on whether the Ontario Police Act prohibits local government (i.e. Cobourg Council) from negotiating the annual budget with the Cobourg Police Service or is it simply submitted by the CPS and the “rubber stamped” by Council? Once more does the Police Act prohibit council’s input into pre-budget discussions?
Finally the CPS could move forward with a new $34M building. The combined incomes of the Chief, Deputy Chief and CAO would easily cover the 1st mortgage payments.

John Draper
Reply to  curious in cobourg
2 months ago

Council can reject the entire budget but not particular line items.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  curious in cobourg
2 months ago

Curious, the Chief and his CAO are certainly well paid but I think that you seriously underestimate the expected mortgage payments. Assuming a 30-year amortization and the current 5-year mortgage interest rate, the monthly payments would be about $220,400 ($2.6M per year). And that doesn’t include the shooting range!

curious in cobourg
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Sarcasm. Perhaps a dig at our “overpaid” coppers, pie in the sky $34M hangout, bloated support staff needs. Add all this to the new water tower, new firehall, more cops, more firefighters, new water and sewer capabilities to support the expected urban growth and throw in just for the heck of it a new pier. Our mayor better start buying Lotto tickets. Can you even imagine where your property taxes will end up. Yes the feel good town marches on.

Leweez
2 months ago

A $34M price tag should be all the proof needed by council for a new direction in policing in Cobourg and the surrounding area.
If council still refuses to recognize this, then they are not serving the best interests of the taxpayer

Last edited 2 months ago by Leweez
Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
2 months ago

Leweez,

Some fun with numbers.
Warning !! Some of these numbers are soft. They are reasonable estimates only. However, I believe they are in the ballpark.

The Town’s 2023 debt capacity as set out in the 2022 FIR is $12.2M. This is the total annual debt service that the Town can service based on 25% of “qualified” revenue.

The total debt service in 2022 was $1,636,781. For the purposes of this discussion, assume no change for the next year or two.
Water and sewer rates will increase (perhaps significantly) to pay for the new water tower and clarifier ($25M??)

Assume the $34M is 90% mortgaged: $30.6M
Cash down payment 10% $3.4M.
Funded how? reserves? Property tax? police services fee (similar to SWM fee)?
$3.4M is 11% of the $31M 2024 levy (one time hit)

Mortgage 30 yr $30.6M
Annual debt service at
5% $1,557,528
5.4% $1,625,120
6% $1,735,932

Added to the current debt service of $1,636,781 is $3.19M, about a quarter of the Town’s permitted debt service capacity.

At 5%, the debt service is $1,557,528. This is 5% of the 2024 property tax levy.

I have not mentioned the net revenue from the crimcheck business. I’m sure the CPSB may say the debt service would be paid from the crimcheck net income of about $2.3M

This would be misleading because the $2.3M is currently used to fund the cops capital budget ($350K+) and a significant share of their OPS budget (about $1.8M). If the funds are used for debt service, they are not available to offset budget (Cap & OPS) costs.

The property tax levy would have to be increased to cover the additional cost, about 5%, be it debt service or cap & OPS expenses. This is in addition to the “regular” budget increase of 5-10% and the SWM “fee” increase.

Can Cobourg afford a 15+% levy increase?

Kevin
Reply to  Bryan
2 months ago

Bryan I understand you are using ‘soft’ numbers as they are only estimates. My understanding of mortgages is residential properties can be mortgages to 80% and commercial to 75% fairly easily, if there is income to pay the mortgage. I have no idea about public sector mortgages such as a police station. We do know it extremely unlikely any project in Cobourg to be planned and built in a year or two. This project could take years just to plan which will likely drive up the $34.4M cost. Even though this number already includes 10% extra, the final number could be much higher.

Then there is the question of what to do with the existing police building. Demolition is the best option because it is well past its useful life.

On a positive note, in keeping with the ‘fun’ aspect of Bryan’s comment, I happen to know of a property that is more than large enough. Conveniently located near a coffee and doughnut place and already has people ‘known to police’ on it. Think of all the time and electricity, for the electric cars, saved when ‘visiting’ these known people.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
2 months ago

Bryan, are you suggesting that a 15+% increase in the levy is a bad thing? I believe that Mayor Cleveland said that a large increase now might reduce the need for future increases. Besides, taxpayer’s pockets are bottomless so huge tax increases are not a problem for anyone.

Yes, my tongue is in cheek!

Rational
Reply to  Bryan
2 months ago

Bryan – is there any information on how much the incremental additional annual operating cost for the proposed new Police Station compared to existing operating costs would be once the new facility is functional? (i.e. building maintenance, utilities, etc.). Based on just the new building size alone it would seem there would be an another increase to our tax base in addition to what is already too high.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rational
Dave
2 months ago

Council should decide what direction they are taking on police services before doing anything further. Otherwise “forgetaboutit”.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave
Bill
2 months ago

Contract services to the OPP and save taxpayers considerable dollars.

Karen Carlaw
Reply to  Bill
2 months ago

Definitely worth exploring based on a specifically developed service model – seems like a fiscally responsible thing to explore. The idea of combining services into a Northumberland Force concerns me as the rural areas are always treated by Cobourg like the poor cousin – the recently announced Cobourg parking pass fees for Northumberland residents as opposed to Cobourg residents are an example.