Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Fire Station, Ongoing Service

We held the Grand Opening of the new Pelham Fire Station #2 this past Saturday.

More than a decade ago a small planning group of Firefighters identified several deficiencies in the former Fire Station. They suggested building a replacement facility, but lack of funding stopped that process.

Then, in August 2008, Town Council formally established a Fire Station #2 Replacement Committee. Chaired by former-Councillor Debbie Urbanowicz (who attended the opening!), the Committee included Councillor Peter Papp, Fire Chief Scott McLeod, District Chief Owen Simmonds, Captain Otto Heinrich, Captain Tim Vanderweide, Town CAO Martin Yamich, and myself (ex officio).

The Committee reconfirmed that Town needed a new Fire Station on a new site because parts of the 50-year-old building are structurally inadequate and deteriorating, because of the safety concerns with firefighters backing-up vehicles after each call, and because the old site has no room to expand or reconstruct a new fire station.

The Committee worked with Firefighters to determine their needs and worked with the community to find the best location and property for a new Fire Station. The Committee completed a functional analysis to determine space requirements and an appropriate building configuration, and oversaw an environmental assessment and re-zoning of the site.

When the National and Provincial government announced Infrastructure Stimulus Funding, the Town submitted a complete business case for the new facility. That funding made Fire Station #2 a reality! I deeply appreciate support of Federal and Provincial governments who invested a total of $1.98 million into the $2.9 million project.

The new, 12,000 square foot facility includes:
o a separate area to store bunker gear and each firefighter’s specialized equipment;
o specialized areas for firefighter training – including a smoke room, an elevated training platform, an auto-extrication pad, and a classroom;
o a hall for large-group training and community events; and
o drive-through parking bays for fire vehicles.

I offer special thanks to Steve Bernier, Panichi Architects, John Klassen & John Colangelo, Bromac Construction, and Martin Yamich, Town CAO and Project Manager.

Saturday’s Grand Opening was about much more than a building. It was about the men and women who have given of themselves, and who continue to give to the community so that they can be prepared for any and all emergencies and so that each of us can be safe.

Congratulations to Pelham Fire District #2 and the Pelham Fire Service and thank you for your ongoing dedication, commitment, hard work and service.