The City Council supported a loan order for $50,000 for a feasibility study for a fire station in the Point of Pines.
“This is to make sure we have the level of protection we need,” said Director of Finance George Anzuoni. “Response times during certain summer months have risen, and it very important to have a stronger public-safety presence in the area.”
Fire Chief Christopher Bright said the time is now to determine what to do with the old building or build new. There is also a question of being able to properly staff the station.
The station has been closed for the past 25 years, opening on the Fourth of July and during certain storms.
“I believe it’s on its useful life,” Bright said.
He added that in his 30-plus years on the fire department, he had never seen the Point of Pines and Mills Avenue turned into an island except when North Shore Road and Revere Beach Boulevard were under water.
“There’s no easy way to get there unless you’re there,” Bright said. “As for staffing, we will look for grants. We’ll get the manpower we need to open this station.”
Mayor Brian Arrigo said the Point of Pines Fire Station is similar to the Department of Public Works building falling into disrepair. He added that this was something the city could handle financially.
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna asked the chief about the old Beachmont Station on Winthrop Avenue and the number of streets flooded during the storms.
“The Parkway (fire station) can respond there. There’s no issue with getting to Pearl Avenue, any of those locations are easily accessible,” Bright said.
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said there have been several times when North Shore Road and the Boulevard closed and that was just in the winter.
“Not to mention the summer,” he said.
His concern is residential units along the boulevard. Powers questioned whether the building was still adequate to handle the projects on the beach such as the Beach House, the Satter House, the Atlantica, the St. George and the others, not just now but in the future. In addition to the properties on Ocean Avenue, Oak Island and Revere Street.
“The bottom line is you need that station down there,” he said. “You need to be able to put a ladder truck down there and a water craft. Let’s get some assurances that public safety is on a fast track.”
Councillor Dan Rizzo asked about staffing. He put in a motion in January asking for the fire chief and the mayor to come to the council and discuss what the needs might be as far as equipment and staffing. At the time, there was a pumper, which was out of service.
“it’s a little frustrating talking about it now, when quite honestly I haven’t had the respect as a city councilor to have a response to that motion for you to come up and just explain what the needs of the department are,” Rizzo said. “One of the concerns I have is staffing.”
Rizzo is chair of the Ways and Means Committee where the request for funding sits at the moment.