Sudbury fire plan: city holds public meeting before special council session

Sudbury, Ont. residents got another chance to attend a public meeting Thursday to hear more about the city's plan to overhaul its fire service.

Sudbury fire plan to close, merge rural fire halls, decrease part-time firefighters

About 200 people attended the final public meeting in Lively before a special city council session on Sudbury's fire optimization plan Mar. 21. (Angela Gemmill / CBC)

Greater Sudbury residents got another chance to attend a public meeting Thursday to hear more about the city's plan to overhaul its fire service.

About 200 people packed the T.M. Davies arena in Lively to hear from city staff about the changes proposed under the fire optimization plan.  For some, like Renee Dejardins, losing their community fire hall is something they don't want to see.

"I love living in Beaver Lake and part of the reason that I love, and I moved there, is our little fire station," she told the assembled crowd.

"It's our community station."

Beaver Lake is one one of nine existing stations around Greater Sudbury slated to close under the plan; the others being Copper Cliff, Lively, Azilda, Vermillion Lake, Falconbridge, Val Therese, Coniston and Red Deer Lake.

The new plan would also see composite stations staffed by both full-time and volunteer firefighters set up in Lively, Chelmsford, Val Caron and Garson. The city would make greater use of career, full-time firefighters, while cutting the compliment of part-time, 'volunteer' members. The volunteers are paid part-time employees of the city.
Renee Dejardins was one of about 200 people who attended a public meeting in Lively Thursday evening. (Angela Gemmill / CBC)

"We, from the administration standpoint, value our volunteers," Deputy Fire Chief Darrell McAloney said Thursday.

"We're looking to try to find ways to expand their scope as far as their response — better train and equip them to serve the community."

A number of volunteer firefighters attended Thursday's meeting but declined to speak with reporters. Their union — the Christian Labour Association of Canada — has told CBC News that it's frustrated with the city's process and vowed to lobby against the plan.
Darrell McAloney is a deputy fire chief with Greater Sudbury Fire Services. (Angela Gemmill / CBC)

The president of the Sudbury Professional Firefighters Association, Kris Volpel, said those who show up to a fire call have one goal, regardless of a firefighters' status.

"Working together, even more in the future. And I don't look at it as a divide, it's a very important team work situation," he said.

 "It's very much a team exercise."

City council is scheduled to discuss the fire optimization plan more in-depth at a special meeting on Mar. 21. The final report will go to council Apr. 26.


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