Niagara Region wanted to tie land sales together; Welland said no deal
The Peterborough Examiner

Niagara Region wanted to tie a potential land sale on Prince Charles Drive North to the sale of part of Merritt Island, Welland city councillors heard Tuesday.

But the city decided it did not want the land that badly — to be used for a new Welland Fire and Emergency Services Station No. 3 — and told the Region it was no longer interested in 884 Prince Charles Dr. N.

The Region’s property sits beside 924 Prince Charles Dr. N., where the new station will be built, near the intersection with Thorold Road.

The city wanted the land so fire vehicles could move on and off the property and build the new station using the same design for the new Station No. 2 going up behind 636 King St.

Welland’s chief administrative officer Steve Zorbas told council he approached Niagara Region chief administrative officer Ron Tripp about the city buying the property at fair market value.

He said Tripp wanted the sale of part of Merritt Island to the Region from the city to take place first.

In 2019, regional staff presented a plan to the city that would see the expansion of the water treatment plant, located on the south end of the island since 1910, to the north. It would include the loss of a current playground, parking lot and former Welland Recreational Canal Corp. building.

The Region, in turn, would build a new playground and parking lot, and realign the trail system through the popular city park.

Zorbas told councillors after the meeting with Tripp he sent a letter to Region chair Jim Bradley and regional councillors expressing his concern over the proposal.

Without the Region’s property, the city had to rework its plans and come up with a new solution for the fire station and property.

Enter the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

The board was approached by fire Chief Adam Eckhart to see if something could be arranged between the groups.

The new fire station backs onto the parking lot of the board’s Father Patrick H. Fogarty Adult and Continuing Education Centre, at 269 Thorold Rd., and has a driveway on its west side that comes in one way off the road close to the city property.

Eckhart and the board discussed using that driveway for the fire trucks and a report before city council Tuesday called for an agreement for an easement on the Father Fogarty property.

“With the easement, it reduces the need for asphalt on our property. I think it’s a win-win,” Eckhart said, adding it will see less green space taken up for a turning radius in the city land.

Station No. 3, nearing the design phase, is the final piece in consolidating the city’s five fire stations into three.

Construction is well underway on fire Station No. 1/headquarters at 400 East Main St., and Station No. 2 behind the current headquarters at 636 King St.

The current Station No. 3, 345 Prince Charles Dr. N., was built in 1955, was last updated in 1997 and has reached the end of its useful life.

It holds a pumper and boat and is limited in space. A 2016 assessment determined it needed nearly $1 million in repairs at that time.

The new Station No. 3 is about a kilometre north of the current station.

Under its new design, truck bays will be built on the south side of the building and crew quarters on the north. The chief’s report said the layout will help reduce the noise experienced by neighbours, reducing the need for fencing and sound barriers.


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