Welland Fire Department turns brown into green while building new headquarters

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Published November 22, 2021 at 1:21 pm

Turning brown into green. That is, in essence, what the new Welland Fire Department Headquarter will be doing.

The building is slated to be built at 400 East Main Street which local residents long remember as the Atlas Steels lands.

The trick with moving onto a former industrial lot is that it’s classed by the city as a “brownfield,” meaning simply that the earth might potentially be contaminated. A full environmental study had to be carried out and moves taken toward removing potential contaminants before the land can be rebuilt upon.

However, they have now been completed as the contaminants assessed ranging from heavy to light were safely removed using traditional remediation methods.

And the green part of the firefighters’ adventure? The Welland Fire Department will be building a state-of-the-art,
environmentally-friendly building and one of the most energy-efficient first stations in the country as their new headquarters.

“We saw an opportunity to take this initiative to the next level in terms of environmental stewardship and we are proud of our commitment,” said Welland Fire Chief Adam Eckhart.

“As a municipality, we talk a lot about caring for our environment and encouraging others to take environmentally approaches, and showing the community that we practice what we preach proves that we are serious.”

Helping them achieve this was the fact that Welland city staff noted early on that a lot of concrete and other building materials were left on the property. An assessment of the 5,000 cubic meters concrete onsite determined that it could be repurposed onsite. That meant none of it was slated for landfills, thus no dumping fees, trucking costs and savings on material purchasing.

Additionally, the berm (raised section of land) at the rear of the site provides significant environmental benefits, including being seeded with native species to support the local habitat, reducing soil diversion to landfills, and providing a sound barrier. Welland worked with the Niagara Peninsula Conversation Authority (NCPA) and Niagara
College to help naturalize the berm.

(Photo of Atlas Steels and the Atlas Steels staff circa 1938 courtesy of Welland Historical Museum)

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