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Firefighters hustle to snag regional training centre (5 council briefs)

Quebec firm wins $235,000 deal to supply Sault Ste. Marie with modified shipping containers to be used as retail spaces
20170118 Wellington West Fire KA 02
File photo of Sault Ste. Marie firefighters

Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services is positioning to become one of 20 regional fire training centres intended to replace the recently decommissioned Ontario Fire College facility in Gravenhurst.

The 63-year-old provincial training complex closed on March 31, with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal to operate a regionally connected network of training centres in its place.

Sault Fire Chief Peter Johnson jumped faster than Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog to chase the opportunity when it was announced on Jan. 13 by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

"The discussions with the Ontario Fire College have been very positive and they support Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services being a regional training centre," says Johnson.

"This will present opportunities to foster relationships with surrounding services and provide a platform for current members to become affiliate instructors for the college," Johnson told Mayor Provenzano in a recent memorandum.

This week, City Council authorized Johnson to sign an agreement with the province, making Sault Ste. Marie the regional fire training centre for Algoma.

In addition to the 20 regional centres, Ontario is planning to also use the following training methods:

  • online and blended courses
  • learning contracts
  • mobile live fire training units

"Initially, there will be no financial implications to become a designated regional training centre," Johnson says.

"As we progress and diversify, there will be costs associated with attaining proper training props and equipment."

The fire chief says the city stands to make between $2,000 and $4,400 for each course, based on a class size of 16 firefighters.

Any surplus from course fees would be used to pay for future training and improvements.

The city will also save money by no longer having to pay for out-of-town meals and accommodations during firefighter training.

Other items of interest from this week's City Council meeting:

  • the city issued an apology to Ken Crossman for the drowning death of his 10-year-old brother Gerald in Snowdon Park in 1960. The apology acknowledges that safety measures including a fence should have been placed around a pond there. The city will work with Crossman to establish a memorial plaque and place of reflection in memory of Gerald Crossman 
  • Andrew Aitken, Brandon Armstrong, Daniel Bacon, Mike Bruni, Dan Bougie, Alex Desando, Jordan Foucher, Jenna Mackenzie, Gurpreet Singh, Manbir Singh and Ray Sleeman have all been empowered to issue $250 smoking tickets to people who light up on or near the Sault Area Hospital property. The hospital security staffers are also now authorized to ticket smokers on the Hub Trail adjacent to the hospital. Until now, all smoking enforcement has been done by just two inspectors from Algoma Public Health
  • 9223-4814 Quebec Inc., which does business as Box Container Group, won a $235,000 city contract to supply six modular retail units for use at the downtown plaza and other locations. Two of the units will designed for food service, three for retail sales and one as a full-service kitchen. The units, which resemble upscale shipping containers, will be used at Mill Market until the new plaza is completed
  • councillors agreed to consider building a new downtown bus terminal at Dennis and Queen instead of relocating the downtown fixture five blocks west at 111 Huron Street. Opposition to the Huron Street location has been growing among both business leaders and the public