$1.48 mil­lion build

West Hants coun­cil gives green light to Gar­lands Cross­ing fire sub­sta­tion

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS- UNDERHILL WWW. HANTSJOURNAL. CA WEST HANTS cmor­ris- underhill@ hantsjournal. ca

De­spite not know­ing how - or if - the Wind­sor Fire Depart­ment will be in­volved in a re­gional fire ser­vice with West Hants, coun­cil has ap­proved build­ing a fire sub­sta­tion for the Three Mile Plains area.

On Feb. 14, seven of 10 coun­cil­lors voted to ap­prove spend­ing about $ 1.48 mil­lion to con­struct a two- bay, dou­ble- deep, drive- through fire sub­sta­tion on mu­nic­i­pally- owned land.

“Our Sta­tion 2 mem­bers are very ec­static to get the word that the new fire sta­tion is go­ing to be built. It’s a great morale booster. It’s go­ing to be great for the cit­i­zens of West Hants,” said Brook­lyn fire chief Andy McDade.

The sta­tion will be lo­cated near Exit 5 off High­way 101.

“It’s cen­tral to the por­tion that Brook­lyn has taken over,” said McDade of the ter­ri­tory that the BFD gained when the fire ser­vice con­tract be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and Wind­sor Fire Depart­ment was sev­ered in 2015.

“It’s got very good ac­cess to the 101, which gives us great ac­ces­si­bil­ity to St. Croix, to Fal­mouth, to down­town Wind­sor, to Hantsport. It takes us out of the main flow of traf­fic of hav­ing to re­spond through Wind­sor to get to Fal­mouth and what­not,” McDade said.

Com­pared to the tem­po­rary sub­sta­tion, lo­cated on leased prop­erty on Tonge Hill Road, the new build­ing should have am­ple room to move around in.

“There’s al­ways the chance of an ac­ci­dent hap­pen­ing,” said McDade of the cur­rent sub­sta­tion .

“So far we’ve been lucky to get away with very min­i­mal dam­ages. We’ve had just a lit­tle bump here or there but we haven’t had any ma­jor ac­ci­dents, which is the main thing.”

Sta­tion 2’ s deputy fire chief Wayne Swin­imer had lob­bied West Hants’ fire restruc­tur­ing com­mit­tee to pro­pose a three- bay drive- through sta­tion, as it would give more room for train­ing and stor­age. The com­mit­tee opted for two bays in­stead.

“Our mem­bers are pleased with what they’re get­ting but I couldn’t say ev­ery­body is happy,” said Swin­imer.

“The sta­tion is go­ing to be filled be­fore it’s built. Not that I want to see a build­ing big­ger so they can buy more equip­ment and fill it. That wasn’t my in­tent. It would be nice to have that ex­tra space,” he said, not­ing that there will be four trucks at the new site – tak­ing up all of the bays.

“In the win­ter­time, this is the kind of weather when you want to do some train­ing in­side.”

The goal is to have the lo­ca­tion op­er­a­tional by the end of Oc­to­ber, when the lease on the tem­po­rary fire sub­sta­tion ex­pires.

Unan­swered ques­tions

Coun. Randy Hussey raised sev­eral ques­tions dur­ing the Feb. 14 dis­cus­sion, most of which re­mained unan­swered or were de­layed meet­ing.

“When are we go­ing to stop spend­ing money on this? We’re into the mil­lions of dol­lars. Do we ac­tu­ally need the fire sta­tion there? Can we find a suit­able lo­ca­tion un­til some­thing can be worked out for the re­gional fire ser­vice?” asked Hussey.

“It’s $ 1.5 mil­lion that we’re spend­ing sim­ply be­cause peo­ple can’t get along and you’re ask­ing our con­stituents to pay for a new fire sta­tion be­cause of per­son­al­ity con­flicts.”

Hussey also ques­tioned how much the new ser­vice is cost­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, es­pe­cially since the fire de­part­ments are send­ing up­wards of seven to nine trucks to a scene due to an au­to­matic aid pro­to­col.

Hussey said nine trucks re­sponded to a re­cent fire call in Fal­mouth, and seven for a sin­gle- ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent on Ch­ester Road. to an­other

“This is a lot of man­power, a lot of time for vol­un­teers who are go­ing to get worn out. It’s a lot of main­te­nance. It’s a lot of fuel. It’s a lot of money. We’re go­ing to end up pay­ing for it.”

The other item he wanted ad­dressed was that of a paid po­si­tion at the Brook­lyn sta­tion.

Cathie Os­borne, West Hants’ chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, said his ques­tions are op­er­a­tional and should be ad­dressed to the fire chiefs at bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions.

“If coun­cil has any con­cerns about their ob­ser­va­tions or what they’ve heard, I en­cour­age you to ask the fire de­part­ments to ex­plain their op­er­a­tional prac­tices and if you’re not com­fort­able, you can choose not to fund it to the level they might want it,” said Os­borne.

She did con­firm that Brook­lyn has a full- time em­ployee and Sta­tion 2 has a part- time per­son. Those po­si­tions were ap­proved by the pre­vi­ous­ly­elected coun­cil. Pay­ing Wind­sor’s fire chief was a stick­ing point with the for­mer West Hants coun­cil.

“Gen­er­ally the sup­port for that ( po­si­tion) is that they are there to do both cus­to­dial as well as they’re qual­i­fied to take a ve­hi­cle and re­spond — be the first on call with a truck. So there is some ad­van­tage to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity be­ing able to meet the short time frames that we need to meet in the ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment,” said Os­borne.

“Whether or not coun­cil wishes to con­tinue to fund that or fund it to a dif­fer­ent level, again, that’ll come back to you through the bud­get process.”

Rick Sher­rad, the mu­nic­i­pal en­gi­neer, said a de­ci­sion was needed by March in or­der to fin­ish the project by the Oc­to­ber dead­line.

Coun. Kathy Mon­roe asked coun­cil to con­sider hold­ing off un­til March so they could learn more about how a re­gional fire ser­vice could work by hav­ing the Wind­sor Fire Depart­ment back in the mix. In­stead, coun­cil put the item to a vote. Hussey, Mon­roe and Ru­pert Jan­nasch voted in op­po­si­tion.

The ten­der was awarded to Roscoe De­vel­op­ment.

Randy Hussey

Wayne Swin­imer

Cathie Os­borne

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