This is a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately, especially since closing Arva Fire Hall was just put to a vote last week. My understanding is that a decision was deferred for a year, which I was thankful to hear, but it also means I’ll be voting on it if I’m elected Councillor. So to make my position very clear, I’m posting it publicly.
I took the time to read the staff report and recommendations. While I tend to appreciate the effort that staff and consultants put into such reports, I must say that I cannot bring myself to agree that Arva’s fire hall should be eliminated for a number of reasons:
- There will, no doubt, be additional growth in Arva in the future. Arva’s fire hall is also the second busiest in Middlesex Centre!
- Eliminating the fire hall in Arva puts its residents more than 11km away from a Middlesex Centre fire hall, resulting in an instant increase to property insurance rates (property insurers use 8km as their benchmark) unless the municipality has an agreement in place that London’s nearest fire halls will service Arva.
- As outlined in the report, existing volunteers may choose to not support the Ilderton or Bryanston stations, resulting in a decrease in the number of firefighters available for an increased workload.
- If the Arva Flour Mill ever catches on fire… well, I think we all know how flour reacts to fire, and the resulting damage could be devastating to multiple properties in the area depending on the severity of the incident.
So, that’s a long way of saying that I’m against closing any existing fire halls. We have a large municipality and need all the coverage we can get, and we need to ensure our volunteers have the equipment they need to respond to emergencies. I want to work together with citizens to build communities that are connected, respected, and protected.