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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

City, Inter-Township Fire Protection Agreement Approved For 10th Bridge Closure

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Both fire departments will work together to maintain public safety and response times during disruption.

Owen Sound city council has approved a fire protection agreement with Georgian Bluffs and Meaford geared to maintain public safety and response times during the 10th Street Bridge closure.

The councils of Owen Sound, Georgian Bluffs and Meaford have now all approved the agreement.

It will see the Owen Sound fire department house a pumper truck and two firefighters at the Inter-Township fire station from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

The Inter-Township fire department will in turn have one pumper truck at the Owen Sound fire station 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

The agreement will be in effect for the duration of the 10th Street Bridge closure -- which is expected to commence sometime next month.

Owen Sound Fire Chief Doug Barfoot told councillors at Monday's meeting in the event of a call to the west side of the city, the Owen Sound fire truck at the Inter-Township station and two suppression staff will respond. Inter-Township staff will follow along and assist if necessary, until a fire truck from the city's east side station arrives.

Meanwhile, Barfoot said if any calls from west Meaford (former Sydenham Township) come in that are classified as life threatening, Inter-Township staff will respond. If they feel they will be impacted by the 10th Street Bridge closure, Owen Sound firefighters will be called out.

Barfoot said significant disruption is anticipated to emergency services response due to the 10th Street Bridge closure.

"10th Street is our main corridor to get to west side of the city. And it's the main corridor for the Inter-Township fire department to get to the east side of the city," Barfoot explained. "It's going to impact both of us. To what extent, we're not 100 per cent sure. But, the idea is to work together with Inter-Township towards a common goal of looking after the public."

The limited hours an Owen Sound pumper truck and suppression staff will be stationed at the Inter-Township station is in anticipation that after 6 p.m. the traffic impact on response won't be significant, Barfoot noted.

The Inter-Township Fire Department will also allow an ambulance to be stationed at its fire hall.

Barfoot acknowledged the plan will have budget implications, but couldn't pin down any costs yet.

"We're not charging them for our service, they're not charging us," said Barfoot. "There will be a cost to the taxpayers of Owen Sound to bring in staff, (and) a cost for mutual aid calls."

Barfoot added this is the plan in place right now but assured if it needs to be changed -- to provide more or less service -- it will be.
 

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