‘Happy campers’ break ground for new Minden fire station
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | July 27, 2017
Minden Hills Deputy Reeve Cheryl Murdoch was a self-described “happy camper” July 21 as fellow councillors, staff and representatives of Greystone gathered beside Highway 35 in Minden for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the town’s new $1.9 million fire hall.
Murdoch has dreamed about a station next to the town’s main highway artery for a decade. Her desire only intensified after the County of Haliburton purchased land and built its new EMS base just to the south.
The county bought a five-acre parcel and the EMS base is the furthest south. Minden Hills purchased the middle and there remains room for development to the north.
“I knew if we got the property, this was the place,” Murdoch said in an interview.
Fire chief Doug Schell was also wearing an ear-to-ear grin.
He has been working out of the township office ever since the 2013 flood rendered his office in the fire hall across the parking lot unusable.
“It’s an exciting day,” he said in an interview. “It’s nice to be finally starting to move forward with the new fire hall and our emergency operations.”
Schell said the majority of their calls are off of Highway 35, “so being out here on the highway will minimally reduce our response time to calls and we won’t have to worry about summer traffic in town. It will be a lot more efficient to where we need to go.”
Schell added, “it is going to be great being able to move into a new facility. The old fire hall (at Prince Street and Pritchard Lane) was built in 1973. It’s been there for a few years and served its purpose but with new technology it’s going to be a blessing to move out onto the highway.”
He said the new fire hall would be about the same size as the old one downtown but designed and built differently, with a “better interior management of how we set things up.”
Patrick Dube, the president of Greystone Project Management and Custom Builders, and Darrin Miles, the Huntsville-based company’s construction manager, were on hand for the ceremony while an excavator worked in the background.
They built the EMS base next door so the two buildings will be similar in look.
They estimated the fire hall will take seven to eight months to complete, with a spring clean-up.
“I think the site will look great once it’s done,” Dube said in an interview. He added it will provide a significant gateway entrance to the town along Hightway 35.
“Very welcoming,” Dube added.
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin said good financial management has allowed the town to proceed with the project without having to borrow any money. It is all coming from reserves.
“It’s a happy day,” he said in an interview. “It gets both of our first responders right out on the side of Highway 35, so that in less than a minute they’re rolling down the highway. It avoids traffic congestion. When it’s busy in the summer time and events are going on, we have to tiptoe the firetrucks out through the traffic that’s there. This is just a huge improvement and will be a beautiful, complementary building to the one beside it.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.