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OPP in, local cops out as West Nipissing votes to make a change

The transition to the OPP will take place next year and is expected to include a new $8 million building
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west nipissing police fire sign turl 2015

NORTH BAY — West Nipissing council last night voted 6-3 in favour of accepting an OPP proposal to start policing the town.

The vote flies in the face of a poll released yesterday that showed 51 per cent of residents wanted to keep the local service.

See: Most in West Nipissing want to keep their local police: Survey

"Why does an elected official make the decision that they do," Mayor Joanne Savage told BayToday this morning.

"That's a challenging question to answer. I just hope that everyone that made the decision made an educated decision and made it for the betterment of the municipality and its constituents. It's a short timeline."

Savage says a motion to hold a referendum, supported by 68 per cent in the poll, was defeated.

"The OPP proposal was accepted by the majority, six councillors voted in favour, so moving forward there will be a transition, a process that needs to be done. The OPP proposal that was presented to council on November 14th was accepted," explained Savage.

See the OPP costing proposal here.

"The entire process is about people, not just money, and the men and women that work for the West Nipissing municipal police and for the OPP do a great job. You need to assess the pros and cons but you also need to assess the community needs."

West Nipissing now needs to come up with $8 million for a new building to house the OPP as the existing one doesn't meet the needs of the OPP.

"That was part of the proposal," says Savage. "We haven't started budget deliberations, we start in January. There were a lot of questions pertaining to the finances regarding the new facility and regarding the exit cost as well but further discussion will be required on how it will be proposed and what are the options for council." 

Savage says the changeover will happen sometime next year.

— BayToday