Leslieville Fire Hall
At the March 24th Council meeting Marianne Cole, on behalf of the CCTA, made a presentation to council. She reinforced the need for fiscal restraint, noting there is no need for another large facility 11 km. away from Condor. As well, she questioned the need for 6,000sq. ft. of staff/admin. space at Leslieville when there is the same amount at Condor. Currently both groups train together on a weekly basis at Condor. Furthermore, there has NEVER been any information forth-coming from a supposed “interested training facility stakeholder” and absolutely no figures on potential rental income from outside usage. Finally the need for a 5 bay facility vs. a 3 bay one was questioned and Mr. Erik Hanson, Director of Public Works Infrastructure, admitted there was no need for additional storage space at this time.
Significant discussion took place on the matter and two motions were made:
1. Moved by Councillor Laing that Council direct Administration to re-design the fire hall proposed for the hamlet of Leslieville to be located on the newly purchased 27.43 acres and that this building with the land and site development not exceed $2.2M. (Note: The original 2018 budget was for $2.1M and the current one is for $5.1M). Motion defeated 5/2
2. Moved by Councillor Duncan that Council direct Administration to proceed with Plan 2 which includes gathering Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) for either a 3 or 5 bay facility , along with grading for Phase 1 and 2, including the appropriate drainage and access road. (Note: Phase 1 includes the building of the fire hall and the ground work for levelling, grading, etc. for that area. Phase 2 includes the proposed training area.) Motion passed 5/2
While it would seem that the decision has been made, there is still time for public input. It will take approximately 3 weeks to get the RFP’s and another 2 weeks to evaluate them and report back to council. Council will then evaluate the information they are given and make a final motion on the scope of the Leslieville Fire Hall. The CCTA is in the process of formulating a letter to be sent to council, asking that the letter be put on the April 14th agenda. The letter will be requesting Council to delay any decision on the facility until the proposed build can be accurately assessed in light of current economic conditions. We also encourage people to call their councillor and express any concerns they may have.
RANT It has been a long time since earlier, frequent, “rants” were included in the monthly newsletter. After the election in 2017, it seemed we had a fiscally responsible council, eager to accommodate the wishes of the people. Unfortunately, it seems that now the tables may have turned.
First of all there seems to be a real divide on Council: the experienced vs. the rookies. During the discussion re the Leslieville fire hall at the March 24th meeting the experienced focussed on financials such as:
· Overall unnecessary size and cost.
· Lack of business plan/numbers for the proposed training facility
· Questionable need for a training facility at all at Leslieville when land and facilities are available at Condor.
· Questionable need for extra bays/storage space.
· The commitment/dedication of volunteers has nothing to do with the size of the fire hall.
The newer councilors and CFRS staff focused more on passions with the following comments:
· Desire to make the facility more efficient as these Paid on Call volunteers are somebody’s family member and we want to make it easier for them. As such it would be better to keep the training props all in one area. (Note: There is room for that at Condor.)
· Concern that a smaller facility won’t adequately serve our fire fighters. That is not the way we support our people.
· A smaller facility undermines the level of service.
· A smaller facility might be perceived as punitive.
· There is a need to plan for the future and to build community. (Note: The population of Clearwater County has been steadily declining since 2014. The most important consideration in attracting people to an area is price of the property and being central to amenities such as schools and stores.)
I have received numerous phone calls and emails re the unnecessary need for this large a facility in Leslieville and the seemingly irresponsible financial actions of the majority of Council, ESPECIALLY IN THESE ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGING TIMES. The following are some of the comments received:
· Who is not doing adequate research and calculations to reveal actual costs? (re. training)
· Plans to go ahead are absolutely ludicrous in this current economic situation.
· This should be tabled until we see a light at the end of the tunnel.
· What would the comparative extra cost of operating/utility cost be for a larger facility?
· If they’re so passionate about helping people, why are they proposing to inflict extra costs on the taxpayer?
· We’re being run by a ship of fools and they’re determined to sink us, especially when we hit the iceberg of desperation and we join the Titanic.
· There are too many unknowns and unanswered questions. What is going to be the contribution to land/grading by Wild Rose School Division, and the phantom 3rd party potentially involved with the training facility?
· Ultimately, it comes down to common sense vs. a questionable subjective focus; fiscal responsibility vs. unnecessary over-spending; consideration of the greater good of ALL taxpayers vs. personal glory.
May fiscal responsibility take precedence over unfounded wishes.
Up-coming Events: APRIL MEETING CANCELLED. Potential Meeting Monday, May 11, 2020, 7:30PM