SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services is one step closer to creating a regional training facility in the city.

Sault Ste. Marie's city council authorized the fire department to continue talks with the province to bring a regional facility to Algoma, after the Ontario Fire College facility in Gravenhurst shuttered its doors in March.

"If we didn't pursue this, we would've still had to look at sending firefighters and fire service staff out of town," said Chief Peter Johnson. "This would significantly reduce that cost, because we're able to keep all our training local."

Johnson said ongoing discussions have been positive so far and that the authorization from the city will expedite the process.

It will also aid in training fire departments throughout Algoma that may not have been able to attend the Gravenhurst site.

"It's not just for Sault Ste. Marie," Johnson said. "We're excited that we're going to be able to extend this to the Algoma region and for that matter, if there's anyone else in the province who needs a course that we're offering."

Johnson said a decision on the training site could be finalized by September.