‘Public at risk’ : firefighters union and city councillor call for new fire hall in Waverley West

WINNIPEG — If Waverley West was its own city it would be the second largest in the province, the Firefighters Union said, yet it doesn’t have a fire hall of its own. The head of the Firefighters Union says that needs to change.

“It puts the public at risk because of increased response times,” said Alex Forrest, President of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg. 

Waverley West councillor Janice Lukes agrees the neighborhood requires a fire hall.

“It’s been growing at an incredibly fast pace. Actually twice as fast as was projected,” she said.

Lukes said the number of people moving into the area is impacting the entire city. Whenever there is a call for service, firefighters have to drive over. Lukes said that is now happening more often.

“The development in Waverley West has reached the point now where we’re pulling more actively from other stations.”

Forrest said pulling resources from other areas for major incidents in Waverley West is bad for the entire city.

“It is a dangerous domino effect that makes the city weaker,” said Forrest. “And it makes it harder for us as firefighters to fight fires, save lives and attend to emergency incidents.”

The reason this is coming up now, is because the City of Winnipeg is in the midst of working on the upcoming budget. Unlike previous years, the city is trying to do a multi-year projection.

Janice Lukes said it’s critical that a new fire hall is on the agenda. She said its her number one priority.

To make this happen, Lukes wants $3 million dollars in the 2020 budget to buy the land and design the fire hall, $11 million in the 2021 budget to build it. Going forward, it would require annual operational funding. 

Forrest wants people in Waverley West to contact Mayor Brian Bowman’s office, and tell him getting the fire hall built is a priority.