By Wilson Lo, Barrhaven East Councillor
The Ottawa Police Services Board has formally (and finally) approved the construction of the South Facility, the long-awaited Barrhaven police station.
It’s been a long road for a facility identified as needed in the southern part of Ottawa early last decade. After being shelved twice (once to wait for the completion of the Vimy Memorial Bridge, the second time due to the pandemic, costs, and social environment), I’m incredibly happy this project is finally pushing ahead.
The police station will replace existing facilities on Greenbank Road and at Bank/Leitrim, which are both past their useful lives and have become expensive to upkeep. The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) will also terminate long-term leases at their facilities on Queensview Drive and Concourse Gate and move them into the new station.
The marine unit, traffic unit, special events unit, 9-1-1 call centre, and records management unit, among others, will also be calling the new police station home. Along with the facilities redistribution, operational costs will decrease, but service efficiencies should improve with so many areas of the OPS in the same building.
Locally, the police station will include a collision reporting centre and bring hundreds of well-paying, in-demand jobs to the community, which will benefit the local business community.
Barrhaven and Riverside South combined have a population rivalling Kingston, a city with an entire police force. I’m grateful the OPS recognised the need in our community.
Residents have shared concerns with me including street racing, traffic violations, petty crimes, and car thefts that have eroded their sense of safety and security in their own neighbourhoods.
Although the new police station will not increase the number of officers assigned to Barrhaven in the short-term, it will bring about a greater police presence in the community, especially closer to the facility.
It’s only one part of a wider solution we need to improve community safety in Barrhaven, but it is a major step towards that goal. Concurrently, Chief Stubbs will be reintroducing the district policing model, whereby command is decentralised to allow local commanders to allocate resources to suit local needs. The Barrhaven police station will serve as the new southern district’s headquarters.
Construction will begin later this year, with an anticipated opening in 2026.
The Chief is also advocating to the provincial government to grant OPS recruits more spots at the Ontario Police College to help meet our city’s recruitment targets.