Sparking a debate
Coun. Terry Bernard argues the city should run with three fire stations and not close Sherwood operation
Coun. Terry Bernard is trying to save the Sherwood fire station from closing in Charlottetown.
Bernard, the Ward 10 councillor who represents residents all in the Sherwood fire station’s coverage area, debated the point during council’s regular public monthly meeting on Monday.
“What we have is the possibility of Sherwood closing down so the response times (to fires) for what people in these four communities are traditionally used to . . . are obviously going to increase,’’ Bernard told The Guardian following the meeting.
The four communities he speaks of are Sherwood, Parkdale, Hillsborough Park and East Royalty.
After years of trying to get
things off the ground, council announced last month it had purchased land for a new fire hall in the north end of the city.
It will be located on Malpeque Road, between the Atlantic Cat dealership and Moore Well and Drilling Inc.
The new fire station will have access onto both Malpeque Road and Sherwood Road.
The city is paying $870,000 for the 4.5-acre property.
Based on an insurance underwriters report that came out a number of years ago that indicated the city was growing in the Winsloe, West Royalty and West Royalty Industrial Park areas, fire coverage was becoming a greater concern.
Throughout the entire process it has always been the city’s intention to move forward with two fire stations — the existing one on Kent Street (Station 1) and the new fire station in West Royalty. The intention has always been to close Station 2 in Sherwood when the new fire station is read in West Royalty.
Now, Bernard is questioning why all three cannot remain open.
Bernard said the city leases the building in Sherwood for free and the fire department has a complement of 38 firefighters.
“So, if half the firefighters go to West Royalty and you still retain the other half, they can handle the smaller district. You’ll have the three districts to cover the city well, and nobody’s response times are going to be less than what they’d expect them to be.’’
Mayor Clifford Lee cautioned council about going down this path, pointing out that the underwriters report also said the city should staff both its fire halls with full-time firefighters.
By following that recommendation,
and adding a third fire station, things will get expensive in a hurry.
Bernard said right now the Sherwood station is staffed by volunteers. Although all firefighters get an honourarium, the cost is relatively low.
Prior to amalgamation, the Sherwood and Parkdale neighbourhoods each had their own fire department.
As for the mayor’s concerns, Bernard said he’s just looking to start a conversation on the matter.
“I haven’t yet heard any good reasons not to keep Station 2 open. Until I hear some good reasons I will be advocating to keep Station 2 open,’’ Bernard said.
Coun. Terry Bernard, shown outside Fire Station 1, says the City of Charlottetown should keep the fire station in Sherwood open when the new one is finished in West Royalty. It had always been the city’s intent to close the Sherwood operation down and continue running with two fire departments.