City of Regina wants to build emergency command centre

Flood and storm emergencies have been in the news a lot lately and now the City of Regina is looking at having its own emergency headquarters.

Centre would be located in office building on 4th Avenue

Flood and storm emergencies have been in the news a lot lately and now the City of Regina is looking at having its own emergency headquarters.

A report going to a City Hall committee this afternoon recommends spending $1.7 million to upgrade an office building in the city yards on 4th Avenue yards so that it can be used as an emergency operations centre (EOC).

Right now, when there are emergencies, officials use police headquarters downtown, but it's considered a stopgap measure because there isn't a lot of space, the report to the finance committee says.

Groups like the Canadian Standards Association recommend that cities the size of Regina should have an EOC.

"An EOC is considered standard industry practice as they are crucial in the successful response, recovery and resolution of any major emergency or disaster," the report says.

The proposal involves renovating "Building A" so it would have space for several city departments,  plus the emergency operations centre.

The idea is, the EOC wouldn't be fully staffed all the time, but if there's a disaster, staff could converge there. 

"What we're hoping with Building A is that we'll have something a little closer to that turnkey operation, where there is dedicated space that we can then use for training," said Jay O'Connor, the city official in charge of emergency planning. 

"We can get it set up the way we need it to be set up so hopefully on shorter notice we can get our emergency operation centre set up and running at full capacity."

Among the advantages, according to the report, is that Building A is away from rail lines and the city centre, there's lots of parking and the centre would have emergency backup power.

If the committee approves and Regina City Council gives the green light at its July 28 meeting, the building could be renovated in time for occupancy in mid-2015.

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