Ground broken on fire hall
On Tuesday, city staff and project leaders gathered at the future site of Pembroke’s new fire hall for a groundbreaking ceremony. The $5 million project is expected to be completed and the station operational by May 2018. Taking part in the ceremony are, in front, starting from left to right, Tayler Spradbrow, Assistant Project Manager (Colliers Project Leaders Inc.); Rebecca Kulik, Project Manager (Colliers Project Leaders Inc.); Fire Chief Dan Herback; Deputy Mayor Ron Gervais, (Finance and Administration Committee chairman); Mayor Michael LeMay; Captain Scott Selle, Fire Captain; Paul Ouellette, Site Superintendent for Pomerleau Inc., the design-builder; Mike Tomlin, civil foreman responsible for the site, H and H Construction; and Gabriel Goulet, Project Manager for Pomerleau Inc., the design-builder. Standing in back are, from left to right, Elise Bickel, Pembroke Capital Works Engineering Student; Brian Lewis, Capital Works supervisor, and Terry Lapierre, Pembroke’s Chief Administrative Officer. Missing from the photo is LeeAnn McIntyre, Pembroke’s treasurer, and Dino Di Sano, architect for the design-builder (COLE+Associates Architects Inc.).
Ground was broken Tuesday morning at the site of Pembroke's new fire hall.
The four-acre site, located at the corner of Upper Valley Drive and International Drive closest to Boundary Road, will be the new home of the city's fire department, once it is fully operational in May 2018.
Members of the design team, city staff and the fire station committee overseeing the work gathered at the former corn field to mark the moment when the $5 million project became a physical reality. Three gold painted shovels bit into the dirt while behind the small crowd, heavy equipment worked the land to prepare it for the new state-of-the-art fire hall and its surrounding training grounds.
Pembroke Mayor Michael LeMay said this is a great day, both of the city and its firefighters, as all carry forward with the 2015 decision by council to construct a new facility for the emergency service.
“Our fire department has been operating out of an inadequate facility for several years,” he said. “The new fire hall will provide our city with a state-of-the-art facility that will meet the future needs of our community, and will support the training needs of Pembroke's firefighters. This new hall will ensure that our residents will continue to receive the highest quality of emergency response.”
LeMay said he is proud of the city's firefighters for their dedication and professionalism as they protect the city and its visitors. He thanked Deputy Mayor Ron Gervais, Fire Chief Dan Herback, Fire Captain Scott Selle, city CAO Terry Lapierre and the city's Capital Works supervisor Brian Lewis for being part of the working committee overseeing the project.
“Your undertaking and due diligence ensures that this important asset will come in on or below budget and meet the needs of our fire fighters and the community,” he said.
Gervais said this represents truly exciting times for Pembroke, which is seeing all manner of infrastructure improvements across the city. He is particularly pleased with the progress of the fire hall project.
“Our fire department provides a vital service for the city,” he said. “They have been working at a substandard site for far too long.”
The current Pembroke fire station, located on Victoria Street, was originally built in 1860 with a large addition in 1963, essentially the last time work was done on the building. The department now operates out of three separate buildings and trains offsite, due to the lack of room and the poor state of their current facilities.
The existing station would require extensive work and expansion to meet current demands, so two years ago, city council voted in favour of building a new modernized facility capable of supporting both the fire department’s current and future needs.
The new facility, which is being built on City owned property, will be capable of supporting 16 full-time and 20 volunteer fire fighters. The new location of the station will provide the same response time as the existing station; the property is large enough to support future growth; is in close proximity to major city arteries; and is located in an area that can accommodate future city growth/expansion; and readily accessible to the public.
Herback said he and the firefighters are excited about the new fire hall, something they have been asking for since 2012, when it was apparent their current facility wouldn't meet their current or future needs.
He said over on Victoria Street, they block one lane of the road beside the fire hall when they are forced to bring their fire trucks outside to maintain them, because there isn't enough room inside the vehicle bays to do so. This is because modern fire equipment is bigger and more complex than what they were back in the 1960s when the bays were added to the fire hall.
Herback said the new fire hall will have plenty of room to do maintenance inside the building, plus the site itself has enough space to be able to conduct firefighter training such as extrication activities, rather than needing to go elsewhere.
“The firefighters and staff serve the people of the city, and this building will serve the firefighters,” he said.
LeMay said the fate of the Victoria Street station will be determined once the fire department has relocated. He said the Pembroke and Area Seniors Club already use half the building, known as Victoria Hall, but to date no decisions have been considered on what will happen to the rest of the structure, which hasn't been designated a heritage building.