Moving the police station out of the Junction won’t affect emergency response time or service provided in the area, says 11 Division’s top cop.
Staff inspector Peter Lennox wants to reassure area residents about that as plans to move the division headquarters north to Carleton Village forge ahead.
The division, currently located on Mavety Street near Keele and Dundas, is moving in two years’ time.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new structure was held on Nov. 6.
In addition to the Junction, 11 Division polices High Park, Runnymede, Bloor West Village, and Lambton-Baby Point.
More than 50 years old, the current building is the oldest operational police station in Toronto, and can’t meet current policing needs, said Lennox.
“It’s not a welcoming place, there’s no meeting room, no privacy for victims or people grieving,” he said.
The new facility is set to include a community room where residents can hold meetings at no charge, a spacious lobby, and private interview rooms where victims can talk comfortably with officers.
News of the imminent move has caused some unease within the community, and residents and businesses owners alike brought their service concerns to consultation meetings.
“The fact of the building’s move won’t affect the community’s service — both proactive and reactive,” Lennox said.
There were different reactions from residents of Carleton Village, where the new $29-million station will be located.
“In general, I would say the population was happy about the police (moving in),” said Claude Bergeron, president of the Carleton Village Residents’ Association.
But many objected to the prospect of tearing down the former Carleton Village Public School that has become for many, a piece of history.
Toronto Police sat down with a design committee and advisory group to allow for residents’ input.
“We found the community to be very open and honest,” said 11 Division Staff Sergeant Bruce Morrison.
“They were concerned about us tearing down the school and putting up an industrial-looking box.”
Though some wanted to see the school’s entire façade remain, building planners have agreed to keep only the most notable part — the front library — intact. The rest of the school will be torn down and the new division will be built behind it, Lennox said.
“It will be quite recognizable as the old school.”
Meanwhile, division move may also cause a shift in policing boundaries, as the new station will be located in 12 Division’s current jurisdiction.
The expansion of 11 Division is currently under review, said Lennox, adding the division coverage will likely become larger in terms of geography and staffing.
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