Fire Master Plan suggests new station

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

by Fred Groves

A comprehensive five-year Master Plan could result in another new fire hall being built in Essex.
Pomax Consulting recently presented Master Fire Plan 2017-2021 to Council, which includes building a new fire hall to replace the current Station 2 facility, located in Gesto.

Jan Hambides of Pomax noted that the ideal location for the new hall would be at the corner of Malden Road and County Road 15.

“There are no incidents in the Gesto area. This is one of the reasons we are suggesting it moves,” Hambides said.

The cost of the new hall is estimated at $2.5 million and could be built within the next five years. In his report, Hambides noted that response times to McGregor would be improved by four to five minutes.

“It’s a good move and greater value to the Town.”

The detailed report also noted that the Harrow fire hall (Station #3) is in need of renovations at a cost of up to $200,000.

Recommendations included instead of having two aerial trucks, which the Essex Fire and Rescue Services currently has, that only one is needed and it be located centrally at the new hall (Station #2).

As members of Council and the fire services listened to the report, a couple of Councillors questioned the timing and wanted public input.

“This isn’t in our five-year financial plan. It’s a little daunting, this is a lot of money. Obviously, there is going to have to have to be some long-term borrowing,” Councillor Bill Caixeiro said.

“I don’t want to do it without a lot of public input,” Councillor Sherry Bondy added.

Councillor Randy Voakes said that the safety of the volunteer firefighters is paramount, and Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche added if the new hall is being recommended, Council should take a close look at it.

The Master Plan indicated that the Town needs to do a better job on what is called ‘service delivery standards,’ which is the recording of response times and the number of firefighters at each incident.
Fire Chief Rick Arnel said his department will review the plan.

“This sets a baseline for us. Our plan is to come back with recommendations to you,” he said.