Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Breaks Ground
THUNDER BAY – It is a day many firefighters and rescue workers will always remember. Perhaps a perfect day for Thunder Bay Fire Rescue to break ground on two new stations for the service. On September 11th in Thunder Bay, shovels officially broke ground today at the new Westfort Fire Station site to begin construction on Thunder Bay’s two new Fire Halls to upgrade outdated facilities and improve emergency response times.
The relocation of the current Brown Street Station and the replacement of the Neebing Station in its present location, are two of the eight high priority recommendations outlined in the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue 2012-2016 Strategic Master Fire Plan.
“It is a good day for Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, the City and its citizens,” said Fire Chief John Hay. “The two station replacements getting underway represent the first major infrastructure renewal in over 25 years. The relocation of the Westfort station also represents a significant improvement for response time to include all of Westfort and much more of Neebing in meeting the six-minute response goal.”
The new Westfort Station, being built at 1710 West Frederica St, is the site with the greatest potential for response time improvement. The current 64-year-old Brown Street Station can no longer accommodate modern fire apparatus’ size and meet crew safety requirements and will be renovated to a Superior North EMS Satellite Station.
“Residents of Westfort have been supportive of the development of the new station and I’m pleased to see the delivery of this critical infrastructure for our citizens,” said Westfort Councillor Joe Virdiramo.
Neebing Fire Station will be re-built at its current location on 20th Side Road. Originally built in 1967, as a public works garage and later retrofitted, the station does not meet the functionality of modern Fire Halls. It is limited by bay length and overhead door height, and has a history of mould contamination.
During construction of the new Neebing Fire Hall, the firefighters will be working nearby at the North Neebing Community Centre on Rosslyn Road. Commendations go to the West Arthur and Vickers Heights Community Centres for their cooperation in accommodating the North Neebing programs and events during this next year. Neebing firefighters and community volunteers will be making extra efforts to enable the building of the new Neebing Fire Hall.
Last year, City Council adopted the principle of developing and/or using shared facilities wherever practical when renovation or construction of new Fire Rescue Services and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) facilities are planned, under the Fire/EMS Rationalization Plan. Renovations to the James Street, North Central and Vickers Street Fire Stations are also planned to accommodate EMS operations.
“The Fire/EMS Rationalization Plan is a great example of how the City can improve service delivery for citizens and streamline infrastructure projects and our operations,” said City Manager Tim Commisso. “The same design will be used for both stations and we are able to repurpose existing facilities to further improve emergency operations and overall response time coverage for our citizens.”
“This project was truly an integrated design process which started with the sustainable features requested by the City, programming requirements provided by Fire Rescue and EMS, and alignment with the City’s Urban Design Guidelines, Energy Management Plan and Storm Water Management Strategy,” said Gerry Broere, Manager – Construction Services Division – Facilities, Fleet & Transit Services. “The end results are an architecturally appealing facility that meets both operational requirements and the City’s sustainability needs.”
Some of the sustainable features include:
- Expanses of natural lighting in the vehicle storage area
- Building materials with a recycled component
- Increased levels of insulation
- Durable and appropriate construction
- Mandatory recycling of construction waste
- Low VOC paints, sealants and adhesives, and
- Energy efficient electrical and mechanical systems all tied to a web-based building automation system.
The buildings are projected to use 45% less energy than a similar base building. This project also meets the Gold Standard of the City’s Clean Green & Beautiful policy.
The new Fire Stations are expected to be operational in early July 2014, and the EMS Satellite Station in service in March 2014.