N E W S WHAT TO DO WITH THE OLD HAWKESBURY OPP BUILDING?
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sports equipment that could be kept close at hand in the OPP building when not in use. The mayor also noted that the municipality has received inquiries in the past from the Hawkesbury Food Bank about getting storage space in a municipal building for some of its inventory. “It’s all a possibility,” Mayor Assaly said, about the potential uses for the old OPP building. “But it all depends on what is the town’s final plan.” Acting Inspector Marc Hemmerick confir- med during a phone interview July 22 that the OPP expect to move into their new quarters in September. “Mid-September is what we are aiming for,” he said, “according to the contractor and Infrastructure Ontario.” The building is almost complete, save for some remaining landscaping work needed outside along with testing of the exterior security system. Some interior work remains to be done, including security system tests. The new Hawkesbury OPP detachment building will be the second-largest OPP facility in Ontario, next to the one in Orillia. Inspector Hemmerick and his people are eager to make the move to their new quarters.
“It’s just new and fresh altogether.” With the COVID-19 pandemic situation, a traditional official opening ceremony and public open house event for the new station
may not be possible. Other options, including a virtual opening ceremony, are being investigated by OPP and provincial officials.
When the OPP move into their new station house on Cameron Street, Hawkesbury council will need to start thinking about what to do with the old building. “We know one thing for sure,” said Mayor Paula Assaly, during a July 21 phone inter- view. “We are in need of storage space.” The mayor also noted that storage space is just one of many possible uses for the brick building at the corner of Cartier Bou- levard and Higginson Street once the OPP have vacated the premises. Work on the new Cameron Street building for the detachment is almost complete. Preliminary plans are for the OPP to transfer over all personnel, files, equipment, and other resources from the old detachment station to the new in September. Mayor Assaly noted that is what she and other municipal officials understand is the plan but added that the move could be as late as October.
ILLEGAL DUMP SITE IN EAST HAWKESBURY WAITS FOR CLEAN UP
A would-be developer’s plan for a commercial/industrial recycling operation in St-Eugène seems dead with no sign so far of revival. Meanwhile the unsightly mounds of garbage collected for the project still occupy at an illegal dump site on County Road 14 near St-Eugène despite a Ministry of Environment cleanup order to the developer. —photo Gregg Chamberlain
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residents about the trash piles. Another problem was that Ahmad owed property taxes on the land. The township put the property tax sales list in 2019 for about $96,000 to cover the taxes in arrears. Ahmad made a partial payment and the property was taken off the list on condition that he pay the remaining outstanding taxes within a three-month period. Ahmad later notified the township that he would not pay the remaining property taxes owed. The township seized the land and now waits for both Charlebois and Ahmad to obey the MoE cleanup order. The Tribune Express left a telephone message for Charlebois for comment on the situation. No reply was received by press time. Future land use Charlebois has indicated in past media interviews that he still wants to develop a recycling operation at the site. Whether that will happen or not will depend on whe- ther the township is willing and whether or not Charlebois will have future access to all of the original property. The wooded area at one end of the property used to be the site for the No. 13 Elementary Flying Training School, a military facility set up for training Canadian pilots during World War II. All that remains of the facility is a maintenance shed, the huge concrete gunnery practice backstop, and broken remains of old runways and hangar pads. Mayor Robert Kirby has stated that he wants to see the former military training ground declared a local heritage site. Township Chief Administrative Officer Luc Lalonde affirmed during a phone interview July 15 that is the future goal for the property once the site cleanup issue is settled.
Hidden behind a screen of trees on the outskirts of St-Eugène huge mounds of garbage occupy an illegal dump site but so far the person responsible has not made a move to clean it up. The Ministry of Environment (MoE) is still waiting for François Charlebois, a local developer and co-founder of FCB Products, and his former partner, Sayed Abdullah Ahmad of Toronto, to obey an order to clean up the site located along County Road 14 in East Hawkesbury Township. The order was issued in September 2019 and gave them until mid-October that year to remove the trash. “That order is still in effect,” said Mike Séguin, MoE Cornwal district area super- visor. “The ministry is now considering its next step.” Violation of an MoE cleanup order could mean either fines, or a jail sentence, or both. History of trash The illegal dump site, with its piles of construction debris, empty plastic barrels, and other items, is the legacy of proposed commercial/industrial recycling operation that Charlebois planned to create in 2018. His partner, Ahmad, owned the land at the time. The mounds of garbage grew as Charlebois worked on the details for the recycling operation until everything came to halt for lack of several key components. The proposed recycling project did not have an MoE-approved operating permit. Charlebois and Ahmad also did not have township approval to use the site for an industrial project like a recycling operation. Neither of them had even approached the township and MoE with their proposal until there were complaints from other area
The new OPP building on Cameron Street should be ready for occupancy in autumn. When that happens then Hawkesbury town council and staff can start planning a new future for the old building on Cartier Boulevard, after it first undergoes inspection to determine if there are any repairs or alterations needed. —photo Gregg Chamberlain
Once the OPP have moved over into their new quarters, the mayor expects that the town’s first priority for the old building will be a complete inspection of the premises. After the state of the building is assessed, including an inventory of any needed repairs or alterations needed, then municipal staff can prepare a report for council on its potential uses. “We need to do an evaluation,” said Mayor Assaly. “It (building) could be used for archives, it could be used for (storing) things that are only used seasonally.” She observed that the Robert Hartley Sports Complex has many items of seasonal
“First, we will have direct access to the (County Road) 17,” he said, “which will allow us to better serve both Hawkesbury and our other five municipalities.” He noted the new building “meets and surpasses current policing standards” for station security, ergonomic working environ- ment, and ample office space for all OPP staff needs. The new facility will also have room to offer the Victim Services program and other community partner groups that work with the OPP their own office space. “We’ll also have substantial space avai- lable for significant growth and expansion in the future,” Inspector Hemmerick said.
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