Update: Belleville policing report

Belleville city council is set to decide this fall whether or not it intends to ask the OPP for a costing to police the community.

Now, Belleville’s Chief of Police has offered some more information for them to consider.

Chief Cory McMullan has BPS Cost Efficiency Report Aug 2013and changes that could be made to save considerable money, starting next year.

6 officers, including an inspector and a staff sergeant are slated to retire before the end of next year.

2 of those positions wouldn’t be replaced under her proposal. Others would be replaced by the lowest ranking constable position.

That saves $389,000.00 going forward. Another 146 thousand dollars could be saved by retirements and not replacing in 2015.

Chief McMullan also recommends several investments in technology, including Blackberries for some officers, and computerized transcription, to save significant dollars in years ahead.

Another interesting suggestion is for Belleville police dispatchers to dispatch for the city fire department, thereby allowing those firefighters dispatching to be put into other ons and reducing the need for new personnel.

Chief McMullan shows that comparing police services is no simple matter, and that Belleville is doing well in comparison to similar services.

The Belleville Police Board will deal the report at a meeting this Thursday.

To see the entire report, go to the Belleville Police Service website, and click on “our service”, and then click on “Police Board”.

Go to “agendas”, and scroll through agenda for report.

Also in the report, she addresses a comparison between the Belleville Police Service and the Quinte West OPP.

Basically, Chief McMullan says an “apples to apples” comparison is impossible.

The Chief writes that the Belleville Police Service is almost twice as busy as Quinte West OPP and that her department is responsible, at a significant cost, for court security, which Quinte West OPP is not.

In addition, costs for furniture, heat, hydro, maintenance, and information technology are included in the Belleville police budget, but are not included in the Quinte West OPP’s budget.

As we continue our coverage of this issue, Belleville Police Chief Cory McMullan summarizes her report by writing that professional estimates put the cost of disbanding the local police service in Sarnia at 8.7 million dollars.

Sarnia had been embroiled in a messy discussion for over 2 years about an OPP costing, and the cost of the local police service.

In the end, Sarnia council voted overwhelmingly against an OPP costing.

In her report, Chief McMullan says on the top of the huge dollar cost of disbanding the service, morale will plummet, and civilian employees now with the service will lose their jobs.

Chief McMullan says a Belleville led “regional” force could save money, and that in some ways, Belleville police are already acting as a “regional” police service.

Norlock talks pot on Lorne Brooker Show

MP Rick Norlock talked marijuana today on the Lorne Brooker Show.

The Northumberland Quinte West member is against the de-criminalization and legalization of the drug.

He says before we go legalizing a narcotic, studies need to be conducted.

Norlock_Aug8

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has re-ignited the debate over marijuana after coming out in favour of legalization.

Belleville Police indentify troubled intersections

Instead of a specific traffic violation, the Belleville Police Service has decided to focus its monthly traffic enforcement initiative on a trio of problematic intersections in the city.

The Traffic Management Unit studied accident data from April through June and found six accidents happened at College and North Front Streets, and there were three crashes each at Bell Boulevard and Sidney Street, as well as Victoria Avenue and Pinnacle Street.

Officers will focus on these intersections and watch for driver and pedestrian actions that could be contributing to the increased number of crashes.

Some of those actions could include drivers talking on cell phones, running red lights, making improper turns, or pedestrians not crossing the street properly.

Smith weighs in on Health Unit issue

The MPP for Hastings Prince Edward says big business is walking over the little guy when it comes to many building contracts, similar to the new health unit building in Belleville.

Todd Smith made those comments this morning, after hearing numerous complaints against the recent decision by the board of health.

Smith says the current process is discriminatory.

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Smith says it’s not each individual contract or business, it’s the tendering process in place in the province that needs to be changed.

A new $13 million building will be constructed for the local health unit, something many local contractors say was unnecessary.

Pot talk front and centre after Trudeau comment

Talk on the legalization of marijuana has spread across the country.

Yesterday Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he’s in favour of it, but how do Quinte residents feel?

In a poll conducted by QuinteNews, we found most people either didn’t care either way, or they were in favour of legalization of the substance.

Several people questioned the fact that alcohol and cigarettes are legal, however marijuana isn’t.

One respondent says it would make the country safer, taking the money out of drug dealers hands, giving it to the government.

There was one response that went as far to say that not only should marijuana be legal, but prostitution as well.

The Harper Government has criticized Justin Trudeau’s stance, saying they have no intention of looking into the marijuana issue.

The “Doc” is out, new fire hall in

Belleville has a site for its new fire hall and headquarters, right across from the the new Via Rail station.

Fire Chief Mark MacDonald announced at City Council last night that the new fire hall will be on the site of the former Doctor’s Hotel on Station Street.

It will house six fire truck bays, a training tower, and space for living and administration.

Chief MacDonald says the location has good response times within five kilometres, into the industrial park, east end, and north to the Farnham Road bridge.

MacDonald says site preparation will begin this fall with construction to be completed by August of 2014.

An operational review, now underway, is considering moving the Pointe Anne fire station, and possible cooperation with neighbouring municipalities in the northern areas for sharing fire coverage.

Russell Williams’ home sold

Another development in the long, drawn-out civil lawsuit by victims’ families against serial killer Russell Williams and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Harriman.

Mary Thomas is following that story.

Williams Voicer

Chief: Costing process could cause problems

Belleville Police Chief Cory McMullan addresses City Council on May.13/13. (Photo: Michael J. Brethour)

The Chief of the Belleville Police Service says going through a costing process from the Ontario Provincial Police is not a harmless little exercise.

Chief Cory McMullan points to a situation in Sarnia.  Council there entered into a costing with the OPP that took three years and hurt morale on the Sarnia Police Service and in the wider community.

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In the end, Sarnia council voted to keep its local police.

McMullan also  says the costing process itself, could become quite expensive.

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Belleville council will make a decision on whether or not to ask for an OPP costing at the end of summer.

Meanwhile, Police Board Chair Bob Dolan says tomorrow’s meeting of the board has been cancelled because members are away, including Mayor Neil Ellis, who is in China.

OPP costing debate heats up

A heated debate at Belleville city council last night over whether or not the city should look at the cost of switching from city police to the Ontario Provincial Police.

The council chambers were packed to hear a presentation from the OPP on the costing process, and at times there was applause for local police.

Councillor Taso Christopher slammed the desk and shouted that he “works too” when Councillor Pat Culhane said she’d been working and  hadn’t had time to get enough information.

Councillor Jack Miller moved a tabling motion giving local police three months to show savings.

Police Chief Cory McMullan says she’s confident that new overtime rules and six retirements will create savings.

The tabling motion passed on a recorded vote of 7 to 2 with Councillors Denyes and Christopher voting against.

Councillor Culhane in overdrive on drive thrus

A Belleville councillor will take another drive at the fast-food drive-thru issue.

Councillor Pat Culhane has given notice that she’ll present a motion at next City Council meeting to have more control over any new fast food drive-thrus proposed for the city.

Culhane says she was surprised at the “rabid” response to her proposal last year when representatives of fast food chains objected to her proposal..

She says as a nurse she sees the dangers of obesity and noted the Ontario Medical Association is pushing for some action on drive-thrus.

Culhane says she is not talking about the present businesses but more site-control over any future business.

Teen tanning: Belleville says No

Young people under the age of 18 will soon be barred from tanning salons in Belleville.

Late last year a young cancer victim told council her health issues were developed from the use of tanning beds.

The Health Unit and the Canadian Cancer Society have called for a ban on teenagers using the salons.

The provincial government has indicated it will eventually bring in a tanning salon ban for young people under 18 years of age.

Last night Jackie Denyes was the only councillor to vote against the ban, saying provincial law “trumps” municipal law and the province may bring in something “totally different.”

Once the bylaw is enacted, the licensing bylaw officer will enforce the ban on a complaint basis.

New rules for rec vehicles in Belleville driveways

Belleville residents parking large recreational vehicles in their driveways will be facing a fine in 2013.

A new city bylaw will prohibit large recreational vehicles such as trailers, boats, and R-Vs in driveways.

The restriction covers items greater than seven feet long and eight feet wide, and includes snow vehicles and motorized homes.

Councillor Tom Lafferty, who introduced the motion at council, says there have been many complaints from residents who say their view is hampered by these large vehicles.

The bylaw, which will carry a fine, is expected to be in place in the new year.

Agriculture Society wants casino at fairgrounds

The Quinte Agricultural Society has its own ideas about where a casino should be in Belleville, but City Council may not agree.

Agricultural Society president Marilynne Cotton told council last night that a casino-entertainment concept at the fairgrounds would be good for the city and the downtown.

Cotton says London is a good example of this.

But Mayor Neil Ellis says the site at Sidney and Bridge streets is prime land for other development and it’s time for the agricultural society “to move on.”

Mayor Ellis noted that street frontage at the site could be worth as much as $400,000 a lot.

The agricultural society was encouraged to meet with city staff to discuss the issue.

Work starts on bringing higher learning to Belleville

Belleville will take a look at the possibility of attracting a university to the city, but with caution.

Last night City Council struck a University Attraction Committee following up on the province’s former committment to select three new university sites in the Ontario.

Both Councillor Jackie Denyes expressed concern about the fact there’s no funding available and council should “tread softly.”

Mayor Neil Ellis pointed out that Barrie has already spent millions of dollars on a site in hopes of being chosen.

In the end council established the committee, adding economic development staff and the Quinte Economic Development Commission as members.

Does Hastings County need another ambulance?

Hastings County council is considering adding a new ambulance to it’s emergency services.

Officials say response times for ambulances working in centre and north Hastings County are a little higher then they should be, at about 21 minutes.

It’s believed another ambulance would improve service in the north of the County.

The cost for an ambulance, equipment, and crew, is close to $700,000 a year, with the province picking up half the tab.

Hastings County council is sending the issue to upcoming budget discussions.

 

Dundas East Shopper’s gets smashed

The normal business routine at a Belleville drug store was shattered in the noon hour yesterday.

A vehicle hit the front window of the east end Belleville Shoppers Drug Mart.

The vehicle was driven by an 83 year-old woman.

There were no injuries or charges.

Controversial authour visit cancelled

The cover of "A New Kind of Monster" by Timothy Appleby. (Photo Courtesy: Google Images)

The controversial visit to Belleville, by an author wrote a book about sex-killer Russell Williams, scheduled for this Saturday, has been cancelled.

Belleville Public Library C.E.O. Trevor Pross says he made the decision to cancel Timothy Appleby’s visit after the community voiced their opinions.

pross_visit

Pross says he never meant to cause any controversy by scheduling the visit.

Timothy Appleby was supposed to visit the Belleville Public Library to speak about his book “A New Kind of Monster”, which documents the life and crimes of the former C.F.B. Trenton commander.

University talk centering around GTA: Smith

Talks to build a new university in Ontario are going on, but it’s not clear how much of a look the Quinte Region is getting as a potential location.

M.P.P. Todd Smith says while he’d be happy to support a local bid for a university in the region, most of the discussion seems to centre around bigger cities.

smith_university

Smith was reacting to a statement by Federal Politician Daryl Kramp earlier this week, who said the Quinte Region would be a great fit for a new institution.

Councillor wants change to Quinte West council

Fresh on the heels of more talk about reducing the size of Prince Edward County council comes talk of doing the same in Quinte West.

Last night, councillor Terry Cassidy gave notice that he’ll be making a motion at council’s next meeting to have public discussion on the number of councillors and ward boundaries.

Cassidy believes there’s too many on council, and that the wards should be more equitable as far as population is concerned.

Meanwhile, both Mayor John Williams and councillor Paul Kyte commented that council was working well, and there was no pressing need for change.

Cassidy’s motion will come up at Quinte West’s next council meeting, on November 5th.

Quinte University???

The MP for Prince Edward Hastings riding thinks the Quinte area would be a great place for a new university.

MP Daryl Kramp says he’s hearing serious talk about building a new university somewhere in Ontario.

Although education is a provincial matter, Kramp says he hopes provincial and municipal politicians and others make sure the Quinte region is represented as a good location for a university.

Kramp says a decision on whether or not a new institution will be built could come fairly soon.

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