Amherstburg green lights plan for fire station revamp and consolidation

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The Amherstburg Fire Department is going to be operating a little bit differently in the future.

Council has given the green light for fire officials to move to the planning stages for an $8-million project which will see the construction of a new, state-of-the-art station on the site of the current Station 2 while Stations 1 and 3 will be closed and consolidated at a new site at the Libro Centre.

Fire Chief Bruce Montone says it's the most economical way to improve response times and upgrade old infrastructure while working with the current resources on hand.

Montone says this is all part of the town's five year Fire Master Plan.

"This is the next step in determining the deployment of the department that is going to provide the community for next 60-plus years with useful, up to date and modern fire facilities to provide our services."

Montone says enhancements are well overdue.

"Two of the three stations are currently more than 60 years old," he continued. "There are a significant number of challenges in terms of a consideration to update a 60-plus year old building."

Montone says it can be a challenge balancing needs with monetary constraints.

"We looked at a variety of scenarios. We looked at could it be done from a single location and that just wasn't possible. Would four stations meet the response targets? Absolutely it would, but it would be a significant additional cost," Montone said.

Council turned down a second option which would have saw Stations 2 and 3 rebuilt at their current locations with Station 1 upgraded — this would have resulted in a need to hire more staff and buy more equipment raising the total cost to $8.9-million.

The project now moves to the design phase, but still needs final approval from council.