Move to end volunteer firefighter programs in Bowmanville and Courtice deferred until late 2023

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Published July 18, 2023 at 12:11 pm

A move to discontinue the volunteer firefighter program in Bowmanville and Courtice and a request to hire 20 additional full-time firefighters by 2027 for the Courtice fire station has been deferred until the budget process begins later this year.

Clarington Council is still moving ahead with hiring 20 new firefighters by 2025 at the renovated Fire Station 1 in Bowmanville, with at least 50 per cent of the new hires from the existing volunteer firefighter pool.

Clarington has a composite fire service consisting of both full-time and volunteer firefighters and has faced challenges in hiring and retaining volunteer firefighters in recent years, a common issue for composite forces throughout the province. The municipality is in the top 30 in population in Ontario but is one of just eight communities with more than 100,000 residents to use a composite fire service.

Clarington Council carefully considered some proposed enhancements to address these concerns and enhance emergency services.

Council has also agreed to ask the Province to mandate residential sprinklers in all new affordable housing developments and to incorporate a Public Works/Fire Station/training facility at the new Public Works Depot on Concession Road 4 in Bowmanville.

The municipality will also renovate Fire Station 1 in Bowmanville as a full-time two-truck station by September 2025 and partner with Durham Paramedic Services for co-use of the Enniskillen station.

Adding the 20 new firefighters at the Courtice station, as well ending the volunteer firefighter programs in increasingly urbanized Bowmanville and Courtice were referred to the budget process.

These changes focus on enhancing fire services to address the rising demands for emergency services in Courtice and Bowmanville, while the volunteer firefighter program in Enniskillen and Orono and the composite program in Newcastle will remain unchanged. No fire stations are being closed.

“It is important to note that these efforts are focused on enhancing our services and that no stations are proposed to close,” Clarington CAO Mary-Anne Dempster said. “These suggested changes would allow us to address the rising demands for emergency services in Courtice and Bowmanville, while maintaining the volunteer firefighter program in Enniskillen and Orono, as well as the composite program in Newcastle.”

 

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