Although the Six Nations Station #1 Fire Hall was condemned due to mold back in June 2013, the fire department officially moved out about two weeks ago. Six Nations Fire Chief, Mike Seth stated that it is unsure when a new fire hall in the village will be built and right now, they are just trying to figure out how to get the funding dollars to build.
Grand River Enterprises owners Steve Williams and Jerry Montour attended the General Meeting at Six Nations Band Council last Tuesday night to say that they still plan on staying true to their word, which was made to the former council. Montour stated that GRE will donate two million dollars to help with a new fire station in Ohsweken.
When asked if two million dollars is going to cover the entire cost of building a new fire station, Seth stated he was not sure, as they are not in the planning stages yet.
As for now, Seth said that Station #1 vehicles and staff are being housed at Station #4 in Smoothtown. Seth is now working out of the Band Council Administration building. When asked if not being located in the village effects fire department response time, Seth stated it does. The vehicles have to travel a longer distance, especially if the call is in Ohsweken. Seth stated, “the majority of the population of Six Nations residents, live in Ohsweken.”
Seth stated the current plan is to build over top of the existing fire station, which is going to be demolished within the next couple of weeks.
In 1948, Six Nations Band Council built the now-condemned fire hall in Ohsweken. It was originally built for a roads garage for Public Works. Seth stated the building was done in pieces and none of the original building remains. The bigger section was built either in the late 60s or 70s and the fire department moved in, in 1963.
The Six Nations Fire Department has been calling on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (formerly Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) for years now to start providing adequate funding to all First Nations fire services, which is dangerously underfunded. Six Nations alone received $550,000 last year, which went towards paying Brant County Dispatch, services that the fire department offered and the remainder going towards maintenance of all stations, vehicles and equipment.