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Point Edward inks four-year contract for OPP service

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Cathy Dobson

The Village of Point Edward has renewed its OPP contract and is considering adding extra officers on busy weekends.

The four-year contract that started Jan. 1 contains an increase of about 1% for the same level of service the OPP currently provides.

“One officer and cruiser for every shift, and keeping an office in Point Edward,” confirmed CAO Jim Burns.

It’s understood that officer might be called away to incidents in other parts of Lambton County requiring extra manpower, Burns said.

The OPP also patrols Highway 402 immediately beside Point Edward. Highway patrol officers are not paid directly by the village but are available if required.

“We pay for basic services to meet provincial requirements,” said Burns.

This year, the OPP contract is costing Point Edward $581,128. It is one of largest line items in the village’s $4.3-million operating budget.

The contract approved by council last month includes a 1% hike to $586,986 in 2020.

“I am happy with it and particularly happy that a sergeant from Orillia came to speak to council before we finalized the contract,” said Mayor Bev Hand.

“It’s a very important part of our budget and we are looking for ideas about some issues we’ve had.”

The mayor called it “unsettling” this summer when rowdy crowds trashed a Lake Huron beach known as The Cove.

The Cove is under Sarnia Police jurisdiction but there was spillover into Point Edward, Hand said.

“We’d like to focus patrols near there, especially on holiday weekends when there may be unruly behaviour,” she said.

Council instructed Burns to investigate the cost of enhanced OPP coverage on such weekends, using off-duty officers that cost $100 to $110 per hour.

That cost would be separate from the contract, Burns said.

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