Site of new police-fire joint station in Hamilton revealed
Published January 2, 2024 at 6:22 pm
Hamilton Ward 15 Councillor Ted McMeekin has revealed the site of the long-in-the-works Waterdown police and fire station.
According to a Ward update from McMeekin, the station will sit at Hwy. 6 and Parkside Dr. on the southeast side of Waterdown. The station has been in the works for several years, starting in 2020. While the site has been selected there remains a wait for the village’s first station.
McMeekin says the joint station is on track to begin operations between fall 2025 and spring 2026. “Advocating for a new police station was a promise I made in last fall’s election, and I am proud to help bring that to fruition for the residents of Ward 15,” McMeekin wrote.
The project was projected to cost about $25 million when it was first approved. However, inflationary pressures have increased construction costs for municipal projects across Ontario. McMeekin did not share if the station is one such project.
However, the policing budget has been a point of contention across Hamilton for the last few years. In the 2023 budget process, Hamilton Police requested a 12 million (6.71 per cent) budget increase to $195.85 million. This is three times higher than what the city expected having planned on a 2.1 per cent jump.
The service noted 92 per cent of its budget goes to staffing and the service wanted to hire new officers. The city does have a comparatively low cop-to-population ratio at 146 per 100,000, compared to an average 183 provincewide.
However, the request sparked widespread protests in city council chambers, which called on the city to reduce the police budget. Such calls became commonplace in 2020, following the police murder of George Floyd in the United States.
However, they were particularly powerful in Hamilton amid the investigation into Cst. Brian Wren’s brutal assault of Patrick Tomchuk, an Indigenous man. Wren pled guilty to the assault around the same time as the budget process and resulting protests.
Ultimately Mayor Andrea Horwath said the police funding was “necessary” but that the city was also investing in mental health treatment and housing. The city’s overall tax bill ended up increasing by 5.85 per cent for 2023. Things look worse for the 2024 budget with the city eyeing a 14 per cent hike. McMeekin is staunchly against this increase and filed a motion to cap taxes at 4 per cent.
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