By Cam Kennedy
BELLEVILLE – Locations for a new police station are currently being tossed around by Belleville city council once again.
The decision-making process is one that has proven to be difficult.
A site on Station Street was designated and the subject of negotiations, according to councillor Mitch Panciuk, .
But unbeknownst to Panciuk, as well as councillor Kelly McCaw, another unidentified site was abruptly thrown in the mix of possible locations. Since this is a property matter involving the purchase of sale of land by the city, under the Municipal Act, it’s locations cannot be revealled. Now, both are concerned with the sudden addition.
“Arbitrarily, out of nowhere, another site was added to the mix. My point is, that can’t happen,” Panciuk said. “I can’t add a site, neither can anyone else on council.”
With the new site being added, it was a surprise to McCaw as well to discover the information through the local news media.
“I would like to be informed within (council) rather than without (after reading in the media),” she said.
McCaw also added she would like to discuss sites talked about the previous term’s council.
“I hope that the new council has an opportunity to weigh in on the decision and consider all the sites,” McCaw said. “Even some of the previous sites that we weren’t aware of because we were not on council. Maybe we could bring some of those forward and reanalyze them to see if perhaps they would be a suitable site.”
Council did decide on a site, located on Station Street, as recommended for the site selection committee to review.
However, it was the owners of this site who were unaware of the negotiations that would take place, Panciuk said.
“The site that the city directed to staff to negotiate with, the people that own it were telling us that they hadn’t even been contacted,” he said.
If negotiations fall through with the Station Street, McCaw said other sites could be considered.
“There is no argument that the Ben Blecker fairgrounds site would be an excellent site should the initial site not pan out,” McCaw said. “But without information, it is hard to know.”
But the lack of information is what concerns McCaw the most.
“I think we (council), need to be informed, equally informed, and not surprised by things in the media,” she said. “It leaves me feeling in the dark on some issues.”
As both Panciuk and McCaw are newcomers to city council. McCaw would like to gain a sense of where things were left off after last year’s election.
“It would be really helpful to sit down with everyone and have a conversation and know exactly where things are, where things were and where we are going to go.”