City of Charlottetown Coun. Terry Bernard, shown outside Fire Station 1.
©Guardian file photo
Charlottetown’s fire chief is looking at whether or not it will make sense to keep a fire station in Sherwood open once a new one is constructed in West Royalty, says the chair of the city’s advanced planning committee.
Coun. Kevin Ramsay said the committee discussed the possibility of operating three fire stations in the city during its last meeting and has asked the fire chief to compile a report looking at all options.
“Once we get all the facts back we’re going to look at it again,” said Ramsay. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be up to council to vote on.”
Coun. Terry Bernard prompted debate on whether to keep Station 2 in Sherwood open during a council meeting earlier this summer.
Based off an insurance underwriters report that came out several years ago, the city planned to close Station 2 once the new fire hall was completed.
The report’s reasoning to move the station was due to the amount of growth in Winsloe and West Royalty.
However, Coun. Terry MacLeod noted it has been a number of years since the report was completed.
“I think parts of Sherwood and East Royalty have grown tremendously since then and it would be a shame to see us lose this fire hall knowing that (the area) is growing as much as West Royalty,” said MacLeod. “There is no doubt West Royalty needs a fire department but it’s critical that we consider what’s happening in parts of Sherwood.”
Bernard said if Station 2 closes, response times will suffer and the city will be in a similar predicament within a few years.
“What I’m saying is, lets keep Station 2 open. Once Station 3 opens, it will look after Winsloe, West Royalty and that area and Station 2 will look after Hillsborough Park, East Royalty, Parkdale and Sherwood,” said Bernard. “That’s only going to be better for everybody, it’s only going to mean faster response times.”
As for the cost, Bernard said the current Station 2 building is leased from the province for $1 a year and that operational costs are about $72,000 annually.
“To me that’s a steal, I think it’s a very minimal cost for fire protection,” said Bernard.
Bernard also pointed out that many of the Station 2 firefighters, who are all volunteers, purchased homes near the current fire hall.
“So their response times could be as quick as possible. A lot of them bought close to the fire hall for that reason and actually ninety per cent of them are from those four communities,” said Bernard.
Ramsay said the chief will look at a number of factors, including operational costs and the number of trucks, equipment and staffers needed at each location.
However, he said all options are on the table.