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Master plan recommends two new fire halls, closure of five stations

Prince Edward County will move forward on a master plan to close deteriorating fire stations and build two new stations.
Under the plan, the fire department would vacate five stations – Picton (2 Ross Street), Heights (343 Loch Sloy Industrial Park), Mallory (126 County Road 32), Consecon (81 Consecon Main Street) and Hillier (65 Station Road) and construct two new fire stations – a 12-bay main fire hall near the roundabout and a four-bay station near the water tower in Consecon. Council will also discuss the possible future relocation of a land ambulance base near the traffic circle.

The estimated total construction cost of the nine station proposal is $4,785,997. After identified savings, the estimated net cost is $2,764,467. Once estimated capital and operating savings are taken into account, the annual impact on the average property tax bill is an increase of .36 per cent, or $7.35 on the average tax bill of $2,042.

The Master Fire Plan Working Committee has reviewed a number of options regarding its current 12 stations and fleet of 36 apparatus.
The review surveyed all aspects of the fire service; equipment, training, fire prevention, staffing (ie. firefighter availability) response times and call history. One component of the review was fire stations, their adequacy, locations and physical condition.

In his report, Fire Chief Scott Manlow said one of the underlying assumptions in approaching this analysis was the extreme inadequacy of the fire and administration hall at 2 Ross Street, Picton and at the deteriorating condition of the hall at 65 Station Road Hillier.

“Staff cannot recommend further capital maintenance money be spent on a station that is not designed for nor has the capability to meet  current, let alone future requirements,” he said.

The committee developed and reviewed 12 different station location options. The committee also considered future housing for land ambulance (EMS) at the main fire administration station as their current contract for housing expires in four years.

Chief Manlow said the proposed reduction in locations allows a fleet reduction from 36 to 33 pieces of apparatus which results in a reduction in the annual reserve contribution of $50,000 per year (from $600,000 annually to $550,000 annually). This is an annual year over year reduction in the operating budget.

Station changes, he said, will not impact the staff complement. “The need for all existing full-time and volunteer firefighters remains, although operational deployment will be modified.”

In September, four meetings were held; two for staff and two for the public. The staff meetings were well attended by the firefighters in the affected areas. Manlow noted the public meetings had minimal attendance at both locations, but the committee was able to answer all concerns and questions of both the firefighters and the public raised during those meetings.

(Full document with all related maps, charts, summaries and reports click here: https://princeedwardcounty.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=63505)

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