Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Services and Guelph Fire Department in Need of Upgrade: Report
In 2022, City staff undertook a facility needs assessment for Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Services (GWPS) and the Guelph Fire Department (GFD). The scope of the report focused on the needs of the departments and the physical facilities to support the operations of the GWPS and the GFD for the short, medium and long term. The GFD has six stations located throughout the City of Guelph, and the GWPS have a total of eleven paramedic stations located within the City of Guelph and throughout Wellington County.
The recommendations from the consultant’s report are summarized below and where appropriate, will be included as part of the multi-year budget, or long-term capital forecast. Recommendations where station replacements are required to meet the needs of the GWPS, will require co-ordination with the County of Wellington due to the shared funding arrangement for GWPS.
The following are the recommendations for the eleven GWPS stations from the Facility Needs Assessment Report, which align with the requirements of the Guelph – Wellington Paramedic Service Master Plan 2018 – 2022:
1. Replace the following paramedic stations / warehouses within the next three years as they do not currently meet the needs of the department:
- Station No. 0 – 355 Elmira Road North, Unit 134 Melran Mall, Guelph
- Station No. 2 – 285 Queen Street East, Fergus
- Station No. 4 – 202 Industrial Drive, Mount Forest
- Station No. 5 – 110 Smith Street, Arthur (Arthur Fire Station)
- Station No. 6 – 122 Robertson Street, Harriston
- Station No. 8 – 5141 Wellington Road 27, Rockwood (Guelph Eramosa Fire Station)
- Station No. 10 – 2 Station Street, Hillsburgh (Hillsburgh Fire Station)
- Future Station No. 7 – 30 John Street, Drayton
It is not feasible to replace all these stations immediately and replacement of
stations will need to be reviewed and prioritized to implement these
recommendations over time.
2. Consider replacing the following station within 10 years:
- Station No. 12 – 34 Gordon Street, Guelph
3. Consolidate the two current GWPS warehouse facilities (currently one on Elmira Road beside Station No. 0 in Guelph and one at Station No. 6 – Harriston) into a single warehouse facility, with dedicated staffing to deliver supplies to the various GWPS stations, as this is currently the responsibility of GWPS supervisors.
4. Recognize that there is a need for training facilities, preferably one in the City of Guelph and one in the County of Wellington. This should be coordinated with the overall needs of the City so as to look for opportunities to share space. It should be noted that the City has recently managed to re-arrange training space allocations within the City to partially provide GWPS the space needed for their training needs.
The following are the recommendations for the six GFD stations:
- Replace Fire Station No. 1 – the Departmental HQ within the next 10 years.
- Expand the size of Fire Station No. 3 and make changes to the interior layout within the next 5 years.
- Recognize that Fire Station No. 2 should be replaced within the next 20 years.
As part of the facility needs assessment assignment, the consultants have also reviewed the GFD training requirements and the current use of a mobile burn trailer versus a burn tower. The life cycle costs were reviewed considering training opportunities afforded by each of the burn trailer and a burn tower structure. The conclusion was that the overall life cycle costs were negligible based on a fifty-year horizon and that the multitude of training opportunities offered by a burn tower structure makes it the most beneficial. It is recommended that when the burn trailer comes to a life cycle end in 2028, the portable burn trailer should be replaced with a permanent burn tower at a yet to be determined location.
Recommendations in the Facility Needs Assessment report include the requirement for renovating or expanding capital assets or building new capital assets. Many of the capital project implications and associated operating costs have not been included in the capital and operating budget forecasts to date.
Regarding the GFD, of the total recommended work to be completed, $32 million was already planned and included in the capital forecast, with $14.5 million to be incorporated in the 2024-2033 update. This includes cost escalations on the replacement of fire headquarters, renovation requirements at certain stations and the investment in a burn tower once the current training apparatus reaches its end of life.
The recommendations for the GWPS means the construction of eight (8) new paramedic stations as soon as possible for a total estimated construction cost of $68 million as per the consultant’s report if the City were to construct all the stations, which excludes land acquisition. The County of Wellington currently has the construction of five (5) stations within their 10-year capital forecast with a sixth station identified beyond the 10-year capital forecast. The City would be responsible for budgeting the replacement the seventh station (Station 0 at 355 Elmira Road) within the City of Guelph and will be captured within the upcoming 2024-2033 multi-year budget with a total cost of $11 million dollars. The eighth remaining station is to be included in an upcoming City or County capital budget, with an estimated $7 million of new design and construction works to be incorporated into the budget. In addition to the stations, there are recommendations related to the assets and business processes associated with warehousing of medical supplies. There may be efficiencies to consolidate warehousing requirements and consider alternative staffing models, however, the business case would need to be further developed.