Industrial site earmarked for southeast London fire station

Industrial site earmarked for southeast London fire station
London Free Press

A new station to serve the city’s growing southeast could soon be built in an industrial park north of Highway 401.

“The purpose of this station is to deal with the growth that is projected and that we’re anticipating seeing in that area of the city,” Lynne Livingstone, city hall’s manager of fire services, told politicians on Tuesday.
The 0.68 hectare (1.68 acre) site, within the city-owned Innovation Park, is located at Hamilton and Old Victoria roads, is worth about $126,000. There’s a budget of $500,000 to acquire land with the remaining funds to be used to start preparing the land for construction.
Finding the location comes on the heels of what city staff describe as a “longstanding search for a new fire station site.”
It’s been a few years since top fire brass began hunting for a home for the new station – the city’s 15th. Southeast expansion, including growing populations in Summerside and Old Victoria neighbourhoods, is driving the need for a new station, which would also serve the section of Highway 401 that runs through the east end of the city.
The goal is to have a fire truck at a scene within four minutes of being called.
A council committee endorsed the plan at a Tuesday meeting, but not without some probing from Coun. Michael van Holst on exactly how long it will take trucks from existing fire stations and the proposed new site to get to fires and other emergencies.
He pointed to the Fire Station No. 5 at Commissioners Road and Deveron Crescent.
“It seems the fire station we’ve got just near Pond Mills . . . is very close to the location we’ve got, and certainly a very easy ride. I think there might be a little too much overlap between the other stations,” van Holst told the committee.
“I don’t think there’s enough information for me to say yes, this is a good location.”
He requested mapping to show response times to various neighbourhoods before the decision goes to council next week.
Coun. Jared Zaifman, who represents the area, noted there’s been an “explosion” of building in the southeast area, including rapidly expanding subdivisions, that could stress existing stations.
He also suggested locating near industrial facilities is a good way to prepare for the potential of an industrial emergency.
“I think, just in case, it makes sense to have something in that area.”
The station would have a crew of four or five, with an engine, tanker truck and perhaps small aerial truck, fire officials told The Free Press.
The site is also preferred by city staff because it’s “shovel ready” and won’t impact residential properties. Most neighbouring properties are industrial or agricultural.
Some of the work to build the station will focus on one particular bird species.
The eastern meadowlark, considered a threatened species, has been observed on the property and the city will have to complete a plan to mitigate the disruption, according to a staff report on the site.
The species isn’t listed as endangered, but it could become endangered if steps aren’t taken to protect its habitat and breeding grounds, a provincial government website says.
Construction of the station is expected to begin in 2022.