Fire protection should be the concern
Fire protection should be the concern
August 8, 2017
Bradford Times
Article by: Miriam King
 
The existing BWG Fire & Emergency HQ on Melbourne Drive is inadequate to serve the growing community, and is scheduled for replacement - but there has been no progress on a second station in Bond Head. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

The existing BWG Fire & Emergency HQ on Melbourne Drive is inadequate to serve the growing community, and is scheduled for replacement - but there has been no progress on a second station in Bond Head. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

Most of the  Bond Head residents voicing their concerns over development proposals for their hamlet in Council on Tuesday night talked about  traffic, and the character of the village.
 
Luigi Rizzuto was concerned with another issue. More pressing than “traffic, integration of old with the new, sewers,” he said, is fire protection.
 
Despite a decade-old  report of the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) that urged the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury to add a second Fire Hall in Bond Head by 2021, there has been no action by the municipality –  and at present, the “under-serviced area west of Highway 400... (sees) non-compliant response times,” Rizzuto said.
 
OFM standards call for the first 6 firefighters to respond in 14 minutes or less, 80 percent of the time. In Bond Head, it takes an average of 14 minutes, 53 seconds for the first truck to arrive at a fire call, and “the wait is greater for other calls, excluding medical.”
 
Neighbouring New Tecumseth operates 3 fire stations, manned by 124 volunteers, and has 17 vehicles – with a fourth station under construction.
 
The Town of Innisfil, slightly larger than BWG, has 20 full-time firefighters, 124 volunteers and 14 apparatus, and will be  building a 5th station in 2018 with plans to hire more full-time firefighters.
 
Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire & Emergency Services, which has seen calls increase by over 50% in just 3 years, operates a single fire station, and has only 51 firefighters, including 16 full-timers.
 
The construction of two 6-storey retirement residences, and plans to develop the employment lands at Hwy. 400 -  both “high risk” occupancies that require a rapid response – are increasing the need for better fire response. Adding another 334 homes in Bond Head will not only increase traffic and congestion, but pose a bigger challenge to Council, which has “the responsibility of protecting residents,” Rizzuto said.
 
The Town is currently looking for a site for a new fire station in Bradford, to replace the existing fire hall on Melbourne Drive, but there has been no recent discussion of a Bond Head station.