Edmonton

Rossdale group ramps up opposition to fire station

The Rossdale Community League is objecting to a new study they believe is biased in favour of reactivating a fire station in their riverside neighbourhood.
Edmonton Fire Rescue is looking at sites in the river valley to serve as a base for water rescues as well as provide fire services to the downtown core. (CBC)

The Rossdale Community League is objecting to a new study they believe is biased in favour of reactivating a fire station in their riverside neighbourhood.

Resources at the three downtown stations are already stretched so there are plans to open a new one.

The fire department is interested in reactivating Rossdale Station 21, which is close to a boat launch and the downtown core.

But the Rossdale Community League believes the new station would be better located elsewhere because there only 60 river rescues each year with response times in line with national standards.

In a letter sent last week to Fire Chief Ken Block, Mayor Stephen Mandel and Edmonton city councillors, the community league says the study is flawed in that it will only look at sites along the river between the Dawson and High Level bridges without looking at alternatives.

"We should be looking at all possible options," said Rossdale Community League president Lynn Parish.

"So if downtown is one of the considerations or the main consideration … what is going to provide you your best response for downtown which is not necessarily here."

But Block believes having crews close to the water is important especially with planned development that will bring more people to the river. 

"What we’re talking about here is creating a river response station, and good access to the river and an appropriate boat launch are two very important criteria," he said.

Jane Batty, the city councillor for the area, said that not everyone in Rossdale opposes the fire station.

"There are some who don't belong to the community league who are very supportive of a fire station," she said.

Block said that Rossdale is one of five sites under examination.

Council isn’t expected to vote on the issue until later this year. Block said there will be more public consultation this spring.

now