Boathouse needed in Chippawa, fire chief says

Boathouse needed in Chippawa, fire chief says
By Alison Langley
Niagara Falls Review
Link to article: Boathouse needed in Chippawa, fire chief says

Time is of the essence when it comes to firefighters responding to an emergency. And, that applies both on land and in the water.

Niagara Falls Fire Department is hoping to build a boathouse along the Welland River to improve response time in the event of an emergency on the water.

Currently, the fire department’s two rescue boats are stored at the Chippawa fire station. When needed, the boats are transported to the public boat launch on Sodom Road.

“The Sodom Road boat launch is a very busy boat launch,” said fire Chief Jim Boutilier. “People are really co-operative when trying to get out of the way as quickly as possible, but they can only move so fast.”

That said, Boutilier is working on a proposal to build a boathouse along the river, commonly referred to as Chippawa Creek, to house the department’s rescue boats.

“Crews would respond directly to the boathouse and then we’re out on the water and responding to the emergency,” he said.

The proposed boathouse would house the marine unit and associated rescue equipment.

Boutilier hopes to have the boathouse available to firefighters by 2019.

The design of the project is underway thanks to a $10,000 grant from Enbridge Gas Distribution.

“Thanks to the generosity of Enbridge, we are in the design and architectural phase and, once that’s done, we’ll know the cost of the project and we’ll go through the budgeting process and then go to council,” Boutilier said.

Enbridge’s Safe Community program awards grants to first response emergency services, including fire departments.

The program, launched in the United States in 2002 followed by Canada in 2009, has invested more than $10 million in emergency responder organizations.

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