NOTL reviewing fire station consolidation: Queenston and St. Davids

Niagara-on-the-Lake fire department call volume heat map. - Niagara-on-the-Lake fire department graphic

Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) Fire and Emergency Services is providing the town with reports that could potentially see the consolidation of the District No. 4 (Queenston) and District No. 2 (St. Davids) stations.

Fire Chief Nick Ruller said a report on the Queenston station, built in 1977, has been adopted by council and it discussed the facility itself and the operational viability. There has been discussion since the early '70s of potentially having one station between the two districts.

“What council has asked now is that we do the same for St. Davids, so we can take a look at the two (stations),” said Ruller.

After the report for St. Davids is submitted, council may request a third report that would look at the feasibility of consolidation.

“It’s not that we’re moving forward with consolidation … I see this as the very early stages,” said Ruller.

If consolidation is the direction council would like to go, Ruller says there still needs to be discussion on available land and funding to construct a station.

“The reality is the (Queenston) station is roughly 50 years old and we’re just starting to look at forecasting a replacement,” said Ruller.

In a map provided by the NOTL fire department, District No. 1 (Old Town), District No. 3 (Virgil) and District No. 5 (Glendale) have the largest call volume, with Queenston and St. Davids ranking as the bottom two.

The fire department is also in the midst of working on its Fire Master Plan and the hope is to have that completed this year.

“The hope is the Fire Master Plan will develop a steering committee for that process, then we will have the steering committee prioritize some of these recommendations to try and deal with them on the early stages,” said Ruller.

The fire chief says he did meet with firefighters from all five stations and findings in the Queenston report were shared. He says there is an understanding of the intent of the report and the challenges the department is facing.

“They can appreciate the fact that we need to make some long-term decisions that are based off some of the data that would be used to influence those decisions,” said Ruller.

He added that the Queenston firefighters are proud of their station and have put a lot of time in maintaining it.

“We do need to make some long-term decisions,” said Ruller.

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