City could provide 911 service for all points west of the Avalon

Diane Crocker
Published on August 19, 2014

The City of Corner Brook is talking with the provincial government about taking over and operating the 911 call centre slated for the city. The provincial government announced the provincewide extension of the 911 system earlier this year.

Right now, about 40 per cent of the landline phones in the province are covered by 911 — in the St. John’s region, Corner Brook and Labrador West.

The plan is for the call centre in St. John’s to handle the Avalon Peninsula and one in Corner Brook to handle everything else, including parts of Labrador.

Labrador West will likely still handle its own calls.

At Monday’s public council meeting, it was announced that city officials have been working with the Provincial 911 Implementation Team on the creation of a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) within Corner Brook.

Following the meeting, Mayor Charles Pender said the city has assigned fire chief Neville Wheaton to the team to look at what would need to be put into place to establish a 911 centre in Corner Brook.

Pender said some recommendations have already been looked at and there are still some details to be worked out.

“At the end of the day, I think you’re going to see a 24-hour full implementation here in the City of Corner Brook,” the mayor said.

Among the details left to be worked out is a location for the centre, Pender said. While there is some idea of where it would be, he noted that a capital investment would be needed to prepare the site.

Pender said the final decision on whether the city will operate the centre will come in the next couple of weeks, as the goal is to be online with a provincewide system by Jan. 1.

He said right now the city and province are looking at a soft launch of the system here on Dec. 15.

Pender expects the centre will employ between eight and 12 people. That’s based on two people per shift, a replacement shift and a supervisor.

He said the potential jobs are good for the city and could provide a new opportunity for some of the people who will be out of a job when the Sykes call centre in the Valley Mall closes this month.

Mayor Charles Pender gave a 911 update at Monday’s council meeting.

©Star photo by Geraldine Brophy