Study recommends fire station reductions
Results of the draft Fire Station Location Study will include references to a proposed new Port Hope Police Service headquarters on the same, proposed urban fire hall site, says Port Hope's director of fire and emergency services, Rob Collins.
Planning for the much-needed, new police facility was put on hold last year while council evaluated the option of contracting out policing the urban area through the OPP (as it has done for years with the rural area of the municipality), but it is back to work now looking for a replacement location to the Walton Street police headquarters with the decision to retain the Port Hope Police Service.
Like the police station, the three fire halls in the township need upgrades and improvements, and the fire study has designated a centralized area of the Toronto Road and Jocelyn Street intersection for a single urban location, while keeping a single rural location.In 2007, the Municipality adopted the Fire Master Plan (FMP) which includes recommendations for upgrades and improvements to Port Hope’s three existing fire stations including additional bay space, larger training rooms at each station, accessible washrooms and shower facilities, new maintenance facilities, office space as well as a training tower. The estimated cost to make these changes at existing stations is over $2 million and it has been determined that the current facilities are not well suited to the upgrades recommended in the FMP. In 2012, the MMM Group was contracted to complete a Station Location Study, analyzing existing stations with respect to response times and identifying opportunities to maximize efficiencies and Municipal investment while meeting the objectives of the MFP.
Volunteer firefighters were invited to provide input during the process as MMM consultants looked at current facilities and response times, interviewed Senior Officers, and factored in current demographics and projected growth. The Municipality of Port Hope is fortunate to have a large number of volunteer firefighters, making it possible to maintain our current 68-firefighter complement and the Station Location Study does not recommend any changes to that number, a press release states.
The sites were determined by essentially drawing a circle in the service area and looking at its centre, Collins said in an interview Monday about where the urban location should be.
The fire station location report by MMM Group, to be made public Tuesday at council's Committee of the Whole meeting, suggests a "co-location" with the police, Collins also said.
This would not be a joint building, but separate facilities on the same property, he added.
"The existing (fire) Station 1 in the urban area, and the Station 2 in Welcome, would be replaced with one new station in the urban area," states a media release. "The existing Station 3 in Garden Hill would remain in place.
"The study confirms that the two-station model would provide an appropriate level of response, compliant with Ontario Fire Marshal requirements, to virtually all areas of the municipality currently within the existing stations' coverage areas."
Pubic input about the fire station location study will be sought after the meeting, and it after it has been posted at www.porthope.ca. All comments received on the study will be considered and included with the staff report and final recommendations to committee of the whole on Feb. 19.