Updated: Aug 14, 2022
The City of Oshawa appears to have a tumultuous relationship with the Oshawa Firefighters Union. This relationship seems to have deteriorated over the past 2 terms of Council and since the removal of a truck and crew from Station 1 in the Downtown to the new Station 6 in 2016.
The construction of Station 6 in Ward 1 depleted our reserves for Fire Services and now continues to be in a negative balance as annual reserve contributions pay off the internal debt.
Oshawa Fire Fighters are among the best trained in Durham Region. In May of 2021, this Council approved a $1.5 M modular training facility/tower to be TEMPORARILY located at the South Field of the Oshawa Executive Airport, with the intent of creating a permanent location in the future. Our most recent Development Charges study, fees, and by-law identifies a future need for a new fire hall in the upcoming Kedron Part II development. Those fees, currently being assessed and collected from new development are based on the need for up to $7.3 M for Fire Hall 7 (Kedron) expected to be built in 2026-28, $4 M to pay off debts for Fire Halls 5 and 6 construction, $9 M for the proposed 2028 PERMANENT Fire Training Facility, and another $7.3 for a future Fire Hall 8 after 2028. While $20 M is eligible to be funded by DC fees, taxpayers will still be on the hook for more than $7M in construction costs as well as the additional salaries and our reserves will continue to be in a deficit of more than $5M. We need these proposed Fire Hall additions, but history shows we continue to underfund future required expansions. To keep Fire Hall 6 ‘under budget’ in 2016, we removed a back up generator that had to be added in subsequent years and budgets!
High density development throughout our downtown and in the northern part of the city north of Conlin Road include multi storey residential towers that will require advanced fire fighting equipment.
The past two (2) Fire Master Plans created by a consultant have come under fire by both the Fire Fighter’s Union and residents as being deficient.
We need to take a proactive approach to our present and future Fire Services requirements to ensure the safety of all City residents. We need to build a cooperative relationship with our first responders and Fire Fighters to ensure timely and appropriate funding.
Why are we not working with the Region of Durham to share our Fire Station facilities with Paramedics and Ambulances instead of building separate facilities?
Do you have thoughts on the issue? Would you like to add comments or information? Do you have another issue to discuss? Contact Jeff Davis, Candidate for Regional and City Councillor, Ward 4 firstname.lastname@example.org