After years of trying to get things off the ground, there should be some significant news on a third fire station in Charlottetown within the next three to six months.
Coun. Alanna Jankov, chairwoman of the strategic priorities and intergovnermental co-operation committee, informed council Monday night that discussions are ongoing in regards to confirming a site as well as determining what the functionality of the station would be and what the dimensions should be.
“I would think somewhere between the next three to six months,’’ Jankov said as she answered questions following council’s regular public monthly meeting, referring to when there will be some concrete news. “I would think that (news) will be sooner as opposed to later but I don’t have a specific date.’’
The city is still exploring two options as for a location to build a third fire station in the neighbourhood of West Royalty. Three years ago, the city paid $870,000 for a 4.5-acre parcel of land on Malpeque Road, between the Atlantic Cat dealership and Moore Well and Drilling Inc.
Then last summer, the city entered into talks with Island EMS to build a new fire station that would be attached to the existing ambulance bays on Sherwood Road.
Jankov said a report that examines the two properties should be back soon.
“That is what we are waiting for, is to hear back from the fire department, to get a report back from them on where we should go from here.’’
Jankov was careful not to publicly commit to anything when speaking to media on Monday. She also steered away from attaching a date when an announcement could be made or construction would begin. But she said the need for a third fire station has clearly been identified.
Jankov did say she should have more information to share at the next regular public meeting on Feb. 10.
Jankov’s committee has been involved in ongoing discussions on the matter for more than a year now but no one was interested in establishing any kind of timeline.
“There are some processes that had to take place first so that’s why we’re at where we’re at now. We don’t want to rush the fire department. We want to make sure we get this right . . . making sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed.’’
he three- to six-month timeframe Jankov used could put the issue smack dab in the middle of the city’s annual budget so The Guardian pressed her on whether a third fire station will be announced in the budget.
“That is a great question,’’ she said.
The union that represents professional firefighters in Charlottetown was also very vocal last year on the need to properly staff each of the three stations. The Charlottetown Professional Firefighters Association (CPFA) joined the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) last year, in part, to address its concerns over staffing.
The last increase to full-time, career firefighters was in 2008 when two people were hired.
Spencer Waite, president of the local union, said, ideally, there should be four firefighters at each of the three stations to immediately respond to a call but that’s not the case now.
Jankov staffing is also a part of the ongoing discussions.