Council rejects recommended site for new fire substation by a 5-2 vote

By Devan Mighton – Originally published in the LaSalle Post on July 14, 2017.

(LASALLE, ON) – After almost two hours of presentations, delegations, and debate on Tuesday, administration’s recommendation to build a sire service substation on Hazel Street at John Dupuis Park was rejected by a 5-2 vote.

“I think the motion being denied was the right thing to do,” said Tim Hampson, 16-year resident of LaSalle. “You need to revisit it again and look for a better location because
this location was actually sandwiching a park between the fire station and some houses and that caused a lot of problems with the proposal.”

He felt that child safety was overlooked in the report.

“You had visibility all the way around the park, which makes it a safe park,” explained Hampson, a member of the Child Abuse Prevention Committee, a part of the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, and the chair for the Activities Commitee at an Ontario Early Years Centre.

“Now when you put the fire station right there, you have [only] two sides you can actually see in the park – that doesn’t make a safe park, that makes a dangerous park.”

Many residents expressed fears with the proximity of the location to local schools and the potential for increased and possibly dangerous traffic in an area where children walk to school.

Others expressed concerns about lost property value, noise, the impact on seniors, and loss of park land.

Town Councillors Crystal Meloche, Sue Desjarlais, Jeff Renaud, Mike Akpata, and Deputy Mayor Marc Bondy voted against the location, citing child safety around the park.

Mayor Ken Antaya and Councillor Terry Burns supported the plan, pressing the absolute need for a substation and that years of reports and studies had shown this was the best location at the present time.

“I think the public did an excellent job making their presentations,”
said Antaya.¬† “I think, for the most part, we just had to respect Administration’s
recommendation and at least give it due deliberation.”

LaSalle still needs a substation.

“I know this is something that’s not going to be solved easily,”
said Antaya. “Because now we just move on to a new neighbourhood or
to another location and we’re probably going to be faced with the same
problem there.

“With that being said, maybe there is something we need to do a little
differently – make a more compelling argument.”

The issue has been sent back to administration in hopes of finding
another locale.

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