Pouce Coupe looks into fire hall expansion

·2 min read

The Village of Pouce Coupe is looking at options for expanding its fire hall, applying for grant funding from the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure program.

The total cost of the expansion is slated to be over $1.5 million under the village’s 2021 budget.

Fire Chief Blair Deveau says an expansion would be a boon to the community.

“With everything that’s been changing over the years, training and health and safety, our hall doesn’t quite meet our standards,” said Deveau. “We’ve actually been training in our kitchenette area, that’s one of the big ones.”

A new space could also accommodate storage for training props and additional equipment, he noted. Sixteen firefighters currently work out of the existing volunteer hall, including the chief.

Peace River Regional District Electoral Area D Director Leonard Hiebert wants to ensure fire protection agreements are kept intact with the municipality, and says they will continue to cover 35% of operating costs.

“We’re happy to do that, as long as we can keep that service,” said Hiebert. “I’ve been on various fire departments as a volunteer, and I understand inside and out the importance of what the service is to residents.”

Rural areas subsidize fire protection at a cost of $80,000 a year, noted Hiebert when he met with Pouce Coupe council on Feb. 17. The department has handled 15 calls to PRRD residents since 2017.

A new water tender is expected to arrive in the village this summer, paid for entirely by the PRRD.

“It’s a thank you to the village for allowing us to use your firefighters, your chief, to organize any fires that are outside the boundaries in our agreement,” said Hiebert. “It’s extremely important that we keep this service and we don’t cut back.”

tsummer@ahnfsj.ca

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News