By Kalinowski, Tim on July 9, 2020.
Lethbridge’s new westside Fire Station No. 5 is on schedule and on budget to be fully built by next January and be ready for service by June.
“Last time we did an update was pre-COVID,” explained project manager Jace Adams at a press conference and site tour of the structure Wednesday morning. “Things were going good, but we didn’t know what to expect. Four months later we have been able to maintain the (construction) schedule, and with materials and supplies we have not had any impact with the COVID.”
The City has budgeted $10.3 million to build and equip the new station to serve the current and future needs of the growing westside, added Fire Chief Marc Rathwell.
“We have really been looking at our fire response and our medical first response from the westside,” explained Rathwell. “We have had one station trying to cover almost half the population of the city so this is absolutely going to bolster our ability to respond, not only on the westside but throughout the city in terms of staffing levels.”
Some have questioned why the new three-bay station is located so close to the City’s current Station 2, which is about one kilometre away at present. Rathwell said the key to understanding that question is the longer-term plans his department has to serve the westside.
“Part of our fire department Master Plan is down the road that station (No. 2) will be closed, and we will be moving it further north on the westside just to spread it out so they are not so close. It equalizes the coverage. We are planning for future growth.”
The new station when completed will house a pumper truck, an ambulance and potentially a wildland truck or another additional vehicle once fire crews take possession of the structure, get on site and have a chance to determine the specific needs of the area, said Rathwell.
The new fire station will be located in the Watermark area along Great Bear Boulevard West when complete.
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter