West Lincoln firefighters could soon be responding to calls from a modern, multi-million-dollar fire station, now that plans to replace the current 57-year-old structure have taken a step forward.
At an administration, finance and fire committee on May 17, West Lincoln councillors voted to award a contract to build a new fire station to a local construction firm.
The motion still needs to be approved by council, but if it is approved, then the groundbreaking ceremony could be as early as June.
The fire station will replace the aging fire station No. 2 in Caistor Centre, which was built in 1965.
The contract was given to NIACOM construction, which submitted a bid of $3,456,590 plus GST.
Councillors raised concerns about the cost of the project, but the report and council comments justified it based on rising costs of construction and the urgent need to replace the aging fire station.
Costs for the station have increased dramatically in the past two years.
The 2020 approved budget allocated $1.9 million for the rebuild of the fire station, and the 2022 approved budget included an additional allocation of $800,000, bringing the total approved budget to $2.7 million.
The tender costs received by the township were considerably higher than that, and the budget for the station was recommended to be increased to $3.9 million. The price increase was blamed on difficulties related to COVID-19 within the construction sector.
However, councillors were keen to approve the construction before prices rose even higher. “There’s no time but the present,” said Mayor Dave Bylsma. “If we dilly-dally, it will only get more expensive.”
Councillors were also keen to start work as soon as possible in order to provide a modern new facility for the firefighters.
“Since I was first elected in 2003 this has been my goal,” said Coun. Mike Rehner. “Now finally, 19 years later, it’s finally coming. I’m so glad it is.”
Rehner was also happy to be able to make improvements in the working conditions of the firefighters because of the “amazing” job they do.
“It’s our responsibility to complement and add to what the (firefighters) are doing,” he said. “And that’s why it’s such a pleasure to do this because it’s earned, not just given. These guys have earned it.”
During construction, the existing fire station No. 2 will still be fully operational.
Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News