Eganville – Bonnechere Valley council is moving forward in principle with an addition at the Sebastopol Fire Hall at Foymount with an initial cost estimate for the structure coming in at $316,000 with extra costs for electrical, plumbing, HVAC and incidentals.
However, the next step will be a site visit by council and the preparations of tenders for the work, as well as the application for grants to help pay for the project which has been in the discussion and pre-planning stages for many years. If the project is approved to move to tender work would not commence until next year and it would be in that year’s budget.
Fire Chief Dave Murphy presented a committee of council last Tuesday with a drawing of the addition and the initial cost estimates.
“I think the drawings look good,” he said. “To take that building and make it look almost like a new building. I think it will serve us well.”
If the project is to proceed it will go to tender, but the rough estimate was provided by a contractor to give council a beginning discussion point. There would be a Request for Proposal issued likely in 2022.
“Where the number sits, we are less than the price of a tandem plow truck,” Councillor Tim Schison said. “It is definitely a wise investment on our part in Bonnechere Valley.”
Chief Murphy explained only the fire hall part of the building will be changed. The building is also used by public works and the County of Renfrew.
Councillor Jack Roesner said perhaps if other changes are needed on the other part of the building this might be a good time to do it.
Councillor Brent Patrick said it is important to move more rapidly on looking at the issue and trying to obtain prices.
“If we are looking at doing something for 2022, we should do it sooner rather than later,” he said. “I think we should look at this a little faster.”
Mayor Murphy said having a site visit in August would give council a clear understanding of the scope of the project.
Chief Murphy told the Leader the building at Foymount is long overdue for an update, so this new addition will serve the purpose.
“Space in the building is the driving factor,” he explained.
The building is shared with the township public works department as well as the County of Renfrew public works department, but the work being planned is only in the fire hall area. Chief Murphy said one of the reasons the addition was needed is because of the size of new fire trucks. When a replacement fire truck is needed, it will have to go in a larger building and the fire hall at the Sebastopol Station is too small.
“We can’t accommodate the new trucks right now,” he said. “So, this is adding a new bay on.”
Chief Murphy said having the addition will meet the needs of the hall at Foymount and is a good solution for the fire department. He recalled the efficiency consultants hired by the municipality last year had recommended building a new joint fire hall for the two stations – Foymount and Eganville – but this was not seen as a practical solution by the department. It was a controversial recommendation and there was a large outcry about the need for a fire station at Foymount. However, there was a need for the work at the building at Foymount which was long overdue for an overhaul.
Having the option of going with an addition at Foymount will be a viable solution, the chief noted.
“With the existing fire hall in Eganville which suits our needs, the cost of the addition in Foymount is a good bang for your buck,” he said.
Huge Topic of Conversation
Mayor Murphy told the Leader the Sebastopol Hall has been a hot topic of conversation for some time now. Having these drawings prepared was a good step and gives council an indication of how to move forward, she said. There is also urgency involved in making a decision on what will happen at this fire hall.
“In 2023 or 2024 the front-line pumper will need to be replaced,” she said.
New pumpers are bigger and wider so just buying a new pumper and placing it in the old hall will not work, she stressed.
“The apparatus will not fit into that building,” she noted, adding buying a used smaller pumper was not seen as a good option.
Having a plan of looking at the site and moving forward on a decision is a good step, she said.
“Council wants to move on it sooner rather than later,” she said.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader