Officials consider moving Sault police station downtown

The discussion at the city council table about safety in downtown Sault Ste. Marie has some city officials talking about relocating the Sault Police Service to the downtown core.

Officials said the current police station building on Second Line East is nearing the end of its lifespan and will need some renovations in the near future. While it’s possible the current building can simply be renovated, city councillor Matthew Shoemaker said he would like to see a permanent police presence downtown.

“I have some preference to see it on Gore Street where there’s a number of vacant lots in close proximity to where the Neighbour Resource Centre used to be,” said Shoemaker. “It could serve a dual purpose of both a neighbourhood resource centre and a police service building very close to the downtown area.”

Sault Ste. Mayor Christian Provenzano said with the police service employing roughly 200 people, it would be a positive addition to the downtown core. Provenzano pointed out the discussion is in the very early stages.

“I think it would be a nice compliment to the downtown if it made sense strategically, if the police service thought that it was strategically sensible to locate in the downtown core, I think that would be a great place for it,” said Provenzano.

“A new building in the downtown core would be great, having all those employees in the downtown core would be great and having a significant police presence right in the heart of our city would be positive.”

The chair of the Downtown Association said he’s pleased the possibility is even being discussed.

“I think it would be beneficial for them to be in the downtown,” said Salvatore Marchese. “Members have reached out (to say) how it would be nicer to have the police within arm's reach. And like a lot of other municipalities, the police are located downtown.”

In a statement to CTV News, Sault Ste. Marie Police Chief Hugh Stevenson had this to say:

“At the direction of the police services board, we are working with the city to evaluate our current facilities and determine how they meet operational standards. We will continue to evaluate community interest regarding any potential location of the police services building in the future.”