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City’s latest fire hall on target

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Construction on Fire Hall 6, the city’s newest fire station, is on schedule and may even come in under budget. The new fire hall, set to open in the summer, will service the city’s growing north end.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

With the summer fast approaching, it’s crunch time for the construction of Fire Hall 6, slated for completion in July. According to the city, the building isn’t ringing any alarm bells just yet.

Mark Robinson, Oshawa’s director of facilities management, tells The Oshawa Express that the construction of the city’s latest fire hall, situated in the north end on the northeast corner of Simcoe Street and Britannia Avenue, is on schedule and on budget.

“It is progressing well,” he says. “The winter has been very mild, so that’s been a good benefit to us.”

The unseasonably warm temperatures allowed contractors to get ahead of the work on the exterior of the building, which Robinson says is mostly complete.

“It’s up, it’s enclosed, it’s weather tight, so that’s now allowing us to do all the interior finishing work,” he says.

On the outside, the building is designed to complement the history of the Windfields Farm area, resembling a farmhouse and barn. Inside, Robinson says work is currently underway to finish the crew quarters and truck bay, which will be large enough to house four trucks.

The nearly $4-million project ran into budgetary issues early on when each of the bidding contractors came in over the city’s set budget. The building’s size had to be reduced to bring costs down.

With exception of an additional $62,000 used for further digging on the 1.99-acre site, Robinson says the finances are in check and the city is forecasting to come in under budget.

The new hall will be the main responder for the city’s north end, as well as the Highway 407 extension once it’s completed, something fire chief Steve Meringer hopes will coincide with the opening of Fire Hall 6.

“With the 407 being delayed a bit, that certainly has helped us and hopefully we will be open and ready to go around the time the 407 is,” Meringer says.

Along with the toll highway, Meringer says response times will be improved for Columbus, Raglan and Oshawa’s northern border as well.

Fire services is already preparing for the switch to the new hall, which will be staffed by existing firefighters, and computer systems are being modified to accommodate the additional location. When a call comes into dispatch for emergency services, a computer system determines which vehicles will be required for the specific location.

Tests are currently underway to add Fire Hall 6 to the system.

“The changes are ready now,” Meringer says. “What we do is put them in a simulator to test them and make sure and we’ll be ready to go for sure by (July).”