Gartersnakes Add $1-million To the Cost Of Windsor's Newest Fire Station

Windsor's newest fire station is officially open, but city officials point to an added cost.

To keep the price lower for Station 5 on Northwood Road near Huron Church Road the city used the same blueprint as for two previous stations.


Windsor Fire Station 5, Northwood Street, May 1, 2018 (by AM800's Peter Langille)

It meant the building cost $4.9-million, but the final cost ended up at $5.9-million due to Species At Risk legislation.

The site was home to about 70 Butler Gartersnakes that had to be relocated.

"Of a 5.9-million fire station a million dollars of that was dealt with species at risk because of this site and the provincial legislation," says Dilkens. "so a full million dollars was spent protecting the Butler Gartersnake"

Dilkens says they've had to add provisions to keep the snakes safe.

"There's actually a very tight screening on the chain link fencing that would stop the snake from coming back to its original habitat all of our firefighters have to be trained on how to cut the lawn, special training on how to cut the lawn before they can actually go out and cut it.  For the next 10 years we have a provincial requirement to monitor the site for the return of the Butler Gartersnake"


Special fencing to keep Butler's Gartersnakes from Fire Station 5, May 1, 2018 (Photo by AM800's Peter Langille)

He says the city knew about the snakes before starting construction.

"We locate our fire halls based on response times, this proved to be an excellent location for a firehall because of it's proximity to Huron Line to go north and south and again to be able to access east-west as well"

Fire Chief Steve Laforet says the new station is a much better workplace for the firefighters and is built to remain functional after a disaster like flooding or earthquake.

It has three truck bays and living quarters for nine firefighters and three captains.


View out the main bay doors of Fire Station 5, May 1, 2018 (Photo by AM800's Peter Langille)

There are just two fire stations that still need to be replaced to complete the Fire Revitalization Plan started in 2013.

They are the College Avenue station next to the University and the main Station 1 on Goyeau.


Windsor Fire Truck at Station 5 with fake snake on grille, May 1, 2018 (Photo by AM800's Peter Langille)