OPP, OPS and signs

July 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Sandy Brown

It’s no secret that I believe OPP costing needs to be looked at again. It was a major plank in my election platform. The town is deeply divided on the issue of policing and given the controversy, misinformation and attacks on the truth experienced during the previous Council’s debate – I ran on the promise to guarantee an honest and transparent second review.

It was the first motion I made as Mayor, and it passed unanimously. Let me reiterate that – all seven Town Councillors voted to take another look at the OPP providing police service to this town. This did not happen because of any personal agenda or opinion. It was because we, as a community, are struggling with extremely high property taxes.

If we are serious about getting our taxes under control and taking spending seriously – each expense item, asset and contract need to be evaluated. This includes all line items, all assets and all facilities to find a better way of doing business and provide the services you need – that naturally starts with our most significant expenditures.

This needs to be a business decision. Costing is part of the information to be collected.

Both police organizations provide excellent policing services and residents can feel safe with either solution. While the driver of this enquiry is money, it cannot be the only input into making a decision. Policing includes addressing the growing opioid issues, maintaining a regular visible presence on town streets and at community events, while maintaining a high level of training and operational protocols.

This isn’t a decision to be made lightly, and all Council members have been researching and pulling more information from both policing options. Reaching out to OPS and OPP; we are talking to Mayors and CAO’s of Towns that have transitioned to OPP and rejected OPP.

It’s not enough for Council to do its own research and homework – Council has made a decision to hire a qualified third-party consultant to investigate both policing options for Orangeville. A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued for a consultant to gather the information needed. The consulting firm will compare “apples to apples”, create a priority list from public input, lead public information sessions focusing on the costing received and package this in a report to Council and the public.

After this, and only after this process has been exhausted, will Council be prepared to discuss, debate and vote on a motion for our future policing services. Two public information sessions have been scheduled for presentations with a Q&A period for each organization. September 9 for OPS and September 10 for OPP. We are reaching out to Mayors who have already been through the costing process in order to set up a third public information session, and both sides will be represented – those who made the move to OPP and those who did not.

Information is available for the 2019 costing proposal process, including documents received, timeline and contact information for your questions, concerns and feedback at  The exploration of savings has started. The decision has not been made.

It is unfortunate how the current debate has hit the streets. Council passed a motion to allow bagged signs on private property for residents to support their position of keeping OPS or supporting a change. Each individual should have the right to voice their opinion and show their support.

What we are not allowing is oversized signs, contrary to our sign bylaw or over and above the special temporary bylaw allowance Council has granted.

It’s even more unfortunate that the Rotary Club and Ribfest trailer were used to promote this debate. My opinion is well documented – illegal signs have no place in our town. In fact, this Council has heard many complaints about signs. 

The direction from residents was very clear, the sign bylaw needs to be updated – especially the election sign bylaw. We have a new Town Clerk who has her hands full taking on a new job and departmental responsibilities. Council and the Clerk’s office (Bylaw Enforcement) will be looking at the sign bylaw in 2020.

The Ribfest has grown into one of the town’s great summer weekends. A little sign melodrama will not diminish the wonderful event that the Rotary Club has brought to our town. I will be sinking my teeth into a delicious rack of ribs and listening to the Campfire Poets, Dufferin County Line, Larry Kurtz and other fine musicians over that glorious weekend! 

Hope you have time to visit the Ribfest – Friday, July 19 – Sunday, July 21 at the Alder St Rec Complex, 275 Alder St.

Hope everyone is enjoying this fantastic summer weather! Stay safe!

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