Officials unveil plan for new fire paramedic station in southeast Winnipeg
Officials announced a plan Thursday to build a new fire paramedic station on Sage Creek Boulevard to service southeast Winnipeg, a move which many hope will improve response times.
The firefighters union said the new station is long overdue.
"The bottom line is it's going to be a safer place to live. It's going to save lives," said Alex Forrest, president of the firefighters union.
Despite Winnipeg having the best overall fire response times in Canada, there are areas within the city with subpar response times, such as the Sage Creek area, which has the worst average response time in the city. It takes about twice as long to get help in the neighbourhood, compared to other parts of Winnipeg.
Premier Greg Selinger and Mayor Sam Katz announced the plan Thursday afternoon.
While many hope the new station will help improve response times, some paramedic officials said other factors can affect response times.
"The simple fact of the matter is we run out of ambulances every day. We do not have enough transport ambulances in the city of Winnipeg," said Chris Broughton, president of the Paramedics of Winnipeg, MGEU Local 911.
In addition to the new Sage Creek station, three other stations will be built around Winnipeg to replace other aging structures in River Heights, Charleswood and St. James.
Kerry Schellenberg lives in Sage Creek and had to call 911 when his young son had an emergency.
"I timed them. It took 11 (or) 12 minutes to get here and when he's having problems breathing, it wasn't very good," said Schellenberg.
He said he's pleased a new station will be built in the Sage Creek area and said "response times should be great."
The total cost of the project is $15 million, with the money coming from both the city and province.
The plan heads to a city committee soon. If it gets the go-ahead, city council as a whole will vote on it next week.
Mayor Katz said work could begin on all four stations this fall.
- with a report from CTV's Laura Lowe