A possible third option as a home for the St. Thomas Police Service was rejected — sight unseen — by city council back in April and a Times-Journal article Wednesday indicated there was no appetite at city hall to pursue the Silver St. location, the temporary home leased by the province for the courts in St. Thomas.
Ald. Dave Warden, chairman of the police building committee, said the decision by council in April was unanimous.
“Council was adamant the building be close to downtown,” advised Warden. “And to do the renovations (at Silver St.) you would easily be pushing $10 million.”
The owner of the building — H.D. Palmer & Associates of Windsor — has offered it to the city for $8 million and this would include “all cost required to bring the building up to today’s standard as to post-disaster construction, replace the (exterior) siding, fill in the depressed loading dock on the south side and add any minor changes to the building.”
It’s a question on the minds of many city ratepayers: Could the Silver St. temporary courthouse serve as the new home for St. Thomas police?
However, without even touring the one-level building that has served the province for four years, city council has flatly rejected what could be the least expensive option to house the St. Thomas Police Service well into the future.
In fact, in a letter to the building owner — H.D. Palmer & Associates of Windsor — St. Thomas CAO Wendell Graves stressed the intention of council is to pursue a new facility.
During a tour of the 38,000 sq. ft. building Tuesday, company spokesman Jon Palmer said his firm submitted a proposal to the city four years ago but withdrew it when approached by Ontario Realty Corp. (now Infrastructure Ontario) which wanted to lease the entire structure as a temporary courthouse during construction of the Elgin Consolidated Courthouse on Wellington St.
The province pumped $5.5 million into the Silver St. building to serve as a court facility, with the lease expiring on Dec. 31.