A new fire hall in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, will allow firefighters to respond quicker to calls and create a more welcoming environment for female recruits, the chief says.
The City of Summerside has reached a purchase agreement with Pan-American Properties for a parcel of land just under a hectare (two acres) located between the Cineplex Cinemas and where the old vocational school used to be.
It will replace Station 1, which is 60 years old and in need of repairs.
Fire Chief Ron Enman said the new location makes it easier for volunteer members to get to the fire hall when there is a call, compared to the existing fire station downtown.
"When this was built in 1962, you know, everybody lived in the city core and they probably ran to the fire hall in a lot of cases," Enman said.
"But younger people are moving to subdivisions which are kind of on the outer fringes of the city and more traffic and more people, and it takes longer to get here so it's really going to accommodate things going forward."
Station 2 in St. Eleanor's will remain with two trucks, he said. The new station will have four trucks.
Enman said the new station will have more safety aspects, such as a designated decontamination bay for trucks.
Accommodation for female firefighters
It will also have proper washroom and sleeping accommodations for female members, which the current station lacks. The unit currently has one female firefighter but they are hoping to recruit more.
"During adverse weather conditions or snowstorms we have a duty crew on, and they're just getting a cot and sleeping somewhere to kind of get away," Enman said.
Construction on the new fire hall will begin early in 2023, the city said.
The next steps are to finalize a survey of the property, and then advertise a request for proposals for the design and construction management of the project.
Council 'really happy'
The budget for the construction will be finalized when the contract has been awarded.
Coun. Barb Ramsay says it's expected to be in the $8 million range.
"Council is really happy about where we are. It's a long time coming," she said.
"I believe they've been talking about a new fire hall for probably the last 10 to 12 years here in Summerside. It's one of the last departments that hasn't had a new facility or an updated facility. So it's time."