Edmonton firefighters’ union has ‘much concern’ over Valley Line LRT west

Firefighters’ union raising alarms over proposed LRT route
WATCH ABOVE: The Edmonton Firefighters' Union is sounding off on a proposed route for the west LRT line. As Vinesh Pratap reports, it runs past a busy downtown fire station.

The president of the Edmonton Fire Fighters’ Union Local 209 spent 26 years on the front lines. And it’s based on that experience that Greg Holubowich stresses how “egress out of a fire station is very important.”

Holubowich spoke with Global News shortly after city planners released their recommendations on how the future Valley Line will travel from downtown to west Edmonton.

“I am surprised that the proposal is to stay in front of station No. 2.”

Just west of the city’s central business district sits Fire Station 2, which the union describes as one of the busiest in Edmonton.

A map showing the route of the future Valley LRT line going past Fire Station No. 2 in downtown Edmonton.
A map showing the route of the future Valley LRT line going past Fire Station No. 2 in downtown Edmonton. Graphic by Tonia Gloweski, Global News

The future Valley Line is planned to run right in front of the station on street-level tracks.

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“Obviously, the ideal situation is not to have any impediments in front of a fire station,” Holubowich explained, adding “safety of the citizenry and our ability to respond in a timely fashion is of much concern.”

“That’s an important question. I’m sure it’s been raised at other points,” Mayor Don Iveson said.

As the west LRT plans are scrutinized by Edmontonians, the city continues to prepare for the development of the project.

On Monday, city council’s Executive Committee received an in-camera update on the steps being taken to put the project out to tender, once funding is secured.

READ MORE: Edmonton planners suggest street-level tracks for LRT at busy downtown intersection

Iveson was asked about the unions’ concerns after he emerged from the meeting.

“I doubt we’d ever deliberately create a situation where a fire truck couldn’t get out,” the mayor indicated.

Before any final decisions are made, the city will hold a public hearing on the west LRT plans, scheduled for March 21.

The firefighters’ union, acknowledging the need to expand transit, will be paying close attention to the city hall debate, hopeful its message will be heard.

“This is about getting out of the station, down the appropriate roadway, so that we can execute and really do our job.”

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