If we trust the information from the Sidney fire department (and we have no reason not to) that most of its members live on the east side of the Pat Bay Highway, then the community should not consider moving its fire hall across this obstacle.
Consider the impact. When time matters most, can we risk having these volunteers waiting in their own vehicles at the light when one of the ferries arrives? It’s much easier for a fire truck with sirens and lights to get across the busy intersection.
In fire fighting, as in all emergency services, time is vital — whether it’s saving property, lives or dollars on our insurance rates.
With the school board of District 63 rejecting the use of land next to Sidney Elementary School for a new community safety building, the municipality says it will look for an alternate spot out of its secondary options.
We hope that the municipality will focus its search for a new location where most of the firefighters live — and where most of the emergency calls take place.
That could mean the people who were in favour of a new fire hall — just not the school site — may see the building go up in their back yards.
In not wanting a fire hall next to a school, the board of trustees has set in motion a different impact on the community. It’s not necessarily their concern now, but the issue remains alive for everyone else.
Sidney doesn’t have a lot of open land from which to choose. Its options are limited and that means one of two things: a large tax impact to buy land, or potential opposition from people who don’t want a fire hall next door. We must then consider the impact of every decision made to date on this project. They have ramifications on the outcome of the proposed community safety building.
As Sidney looks at new sites, we must realize it’s going to go somewhere and have an impact on someone else.