NORTH PERTH – Fire Chief Jenny Pape made a request on Nov. 15, which council agreed to, allowing the old Monkton fire station to be retained for training and storage purposes.
The former Monkton fire station was built in 1962 and was replaced by a new fire hall in 2018. Although the old station had outgrown its original purpose, it remains in a good state of repair, except for the roof which requires replacement.
North Perth Fire Department (NPFD) personnel use the upper floor of the facility for scenario-based training regularly, including the department’s recruit training program. The apparatus bays are used to store a reserve pumper and the Monkton station’s antique pumper. The parking lot is utilized for a variety of training evolutions, including auto extrication practice.
Traditionally, NPFD personnel attended the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst and the Emergency Services Training Centre in Blyth for hands-on training. Both of those facilities are now permanently closed, so having a suitable local facility for training opportunities has become vital to ensuring fire department personnel are trained to perform the tasks they are assigned during emergency incidents.
The ability to provide training locally reduces travel time and costs to the municipality. It also reduces the time volunteer firefighters are required to be away from family and work commitments to complete training.
“If we were to pass this resolution, would this be strictly for the NPFD or was this going to be outsourced and available to other volunteer fire departments as well?” asked Coun. Neil Anstett.
“At this point, it is just being used by NPFD and personnel, however that said, perhaps in the future that may be an opportunity we could consider,” said Pape.
Mayor Todd Kasenberg said that was an interesting question Anstett asked and it provoked a follow-up question from him.
“If we extended opportunities to our neighbours, might they contribute funds to that for maintenance and for the insurance that might be triggered as a consequence of that effort?” he asked.
Pape said the Regional Training Centre model is something that has been used across the province especially since the fire college closed. The Office of the Fire Marshal Emergency Management has been encouraging regional training centres.
“We don’t have a live-fire training centre there,” she said. “What we use it for is predominantly Rapid Intervention Team training as well as an obstacle course with smoke conditions… That said, that training is valuable to all fire departments and that may be an opportunity for us to generate revenue in the future.”
Kasenberg said he sees an opportunity soon.
“We have ourselves a training place for our fire department,” he said. “That’s exciting.”
Council unanimously voted in favour of retaining the fire station for training and storage purposes.
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner