Manitoba

Fire-paramedic service advised to cut stations from 30 to 24

A long-awaited report recommends Winnipeg reduce the number of fire-paramedic stations in the city from 30 to 24 — but city council is not prepared to proceed with the consolidation plan this year.

City council poised to put off recommendation, for now; chief hopes plan will be implemented

Fire-paramedic Station No. 9 is on the chopping block. A city report recommends closing a total of seven stations. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

A long-awaited report recommends Winnipeg reduce the number of fire-paramedic stations in the city from 30 to 24 — but city council is not prepared to proceed with the consolidation plan this year.

A 15-year strategic plan by the Winnipeg Fire-Paramedic Service recommends the city consolidate 30 existing fire-paramedic stations into 23 locations and build a new station in Waverley West. 

The plan would involve $154 million of new construction between 2021 and 2034, starting with a Waverley West station in 2023-24.

The plan would not make response times worse, its authors say.

"It is important to note the reduction in station count does not infer any reduction in first responder positions. In fact, response staffing increases are recommended for additional ladder coverage and for ambulance coverage," the report says.

"In concert with emergency vehicle traffic pre-emption, fewer but larger, properly located, and more efficiently designed stations will improve current response times and ensure that future demands are met."

Priority traffic signals for emergency vehicles would be required to ensure fire-paramedic response times are not affected by the consolidation of stations, fire-paramedic Chief John Lane said.

The report was published Tuesday and will be considered by council's protection, community services and parks committee on March 4.

The committee is advised to "receive it as information," which is council jargon for not proceeding with the recommendations.

Lane said he nonetheless expects council to approve the long-term construction plan, which would rely on provincial funding.

John Lane, Winnipeg fire-paramedic chief, said he believes consolidating stations will actually improve response times. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

In the short term, council is poised to approve a series of minor service improvements this year that fall within a budget expected next week.

Councillor, union respond to report

That budget will include a plan to shutter Station No. 9 on Marion Street, which would be the first station cut under the long-term plan as a prelude to the construction of the new station in Waverley West, said Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes.

She said she's pleased to see a plan for a new station in her ward.

Alex Forrest, president of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg, said while he applauds the long-term planning effort, he does not believe it makes sense to close some inner-city fire-paramedic stations to improve coverage in newer areas of the city.

He said he does not believe inner-city councillors will approve this plan and said he does not believe it will improve response times over the entire city.

Forrest said signal prioritization will not improve response times because fire trucks can already run red lights.

Numerous consolidations recommended

The fire-paramedic service's long-term plan calls for the consolidation of Station No. 9 with Station No. 15 on Autumnwood Road.

It also calls for the following consolidations:

  • Station No. 5 on Sargent Avenue and Station No. 31 on Furby Street would be shuttered and consolidated with Station No. 1 on Ellen Street.
  • Station No. 3 on Rue DesMeurons would be closed and consolidated with Station No. 2 on Watt Street.
  • Station No. 30 on the southern stretch of Osborne Street would be closed and consolidated with Station No. 4 in Osborne Village.
  • Station No. 10 on Border Street and Station No. 17 on Church Avenue would be closed and consolidated at a new location.
  • Station No. 8 on Kimberley Avenue would be moved to the east.
  • Station No. 13 on Lilac Street would be moved to the south.
  • Station No. 14 on St. Mary's Road would be replaced at the same location.
  • Station No. 16 on McGregor Street would be replaced at the same location.
  • Station No. 36 on Portage Avenue would be closed and consolidated with Station No. 19 on Whytewold Road.
  • Station No. 22 on Waverley Street would be remodelled and possibly moved to the south.
  • Station No. 23 on Dalhousie Street would be replaced at the same site.
  • Station No. 24 on Rothesay Street would be replaced and possibly moved to the southwest.
  • Station No. 25 on Day Street would be remodelled and possibly moved to the east.

WATCH | Bartley Kives' report:

Fire-paramedic service advised to cut stations

2 years ago
Duration 2:13
A long-awaited report recommends Winnipeg reduce the number of fire-paramedic stations in the city from 30 to 24 — but city council is not prepared to proceed with the consolidation plan this year.

 

Corrections

  • We initially reported that Station No. 2 on Watt Street would be closed and consolidated with Station No. 3 on Rue DesMeurons. In fact, Station No. 3 on DesMeurons would be closed and consolidated with Station No. 2 on Watt Street, which would remain open.
    Feb 26, 2020 7:59 AM CT

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