Time for a new Cornwall fire hall: master plan

Time for a new Cornwall fire hall: master plan
A massive fire is burning at a house in east end Cornwall Wednesday night. Photo by Jason McNamara - www.framedphotography.ca

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall needs another fire hall, according to a fire master plan released publicly Wednesday.

Some 37 recommendations are included in the plan, but the one with the biggest price tag, and which will create the most debate in the community, is the construction of a new fire hall.

The option recommended in a report that councillors will discuss Monday includes turning the existing station on Fourth Street West in Cornwall into a headquarters-only facility that will house administrators and the like from the fire department.

A new facility, very similar to the one located on Second Street East, would be built, presumably in the north end of the city where it takes firefighters longer to respond.

But it won’t come cheap.

The new master plan suggests it could cost as much as $6.7 million, split between the price of land and the actual construction of a building, to facilitate such a scenario.

Fire chief Rick McCullough, who will retire in a few weeks, said implementing such a recommendation will take some convincing.

“The most difficult one that will be a challenge will be the new fire hall,” he said. “And why is that? It’s the most expensive.”

The recommendations in the new fire plan are just that. Councillors will have the final say on when, or if, a new fire hall is built.

“That ain’t going to happen,” Coun. Andre Rivette suggested in an interview. “It’s a great thing to have but it’s not a priority right now. Our response time is good.

The benefits would be an increase in response times, as much as a 16 per cent improvement, according to the plan.

It currently takes a little more than seven minutes for the department to respond to a fire call in Cornwall – less if it is strictly a medical call.

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