The new fire hall in Cumberland is nearing completion. Photo by Mike Chouinard

The new fire hall in Cumberland is nearing completion. Photo by Mike Chouinard

New Cumberland fire hall to open soon

Finishing touches include adding emergency generator, communications system

Work on the new fire hall in Cumberland is nearing completion, according to the village’s chief administrative officer.

During a discussion at the March 8 council meeting, CAO Clayton Postings outlined a plan to use some of the restart money available from senior governments to the village for the addition of a generator at the fire hall. The funding is to come from the Safe Restart Grant for Local Communities, a joint federal-provincial initiative to help communities respond to COVID-related challenges. A staff report estimates the cost of the generator runs between $60,000 and $80,000. Council approved a motion to spend the restart funding.

The generator is one of two current expenses the village is targeting with the restart money, along with upgrades to the village’s information technology infrastructure. In the case of the generator, the work will help finish off one of the last components of the new home of the Cumberland Fire Department.

“Everything’s all ready to go, other than the generator,” he told council.

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The generator will help maintain operations in the event of a large-scale emergency in the community and provide auxiliary power.

“The fire department is obviously the main use, but it’s also [the] emergency operations centre,” he said. “This does allow the whole building to be powered.”

Work on the new site at 4724 Cumberland Rd. began last spring. The site also required rezoning, which went to public hearing.

As far as budgeting for the generator, Coun. Sean Sullivan asked if the item had been in the original budget. Postings responded staff had hoped grants could be available to cover the costs. As well, they were not sure of the size of the generator that would be required when construction started.

Sullivan also asked about the timing for the opening of the new fire hall as well as whether the project is on budget.

Postings said he had been at a site meeting earlier in the day and said, along with the generator, the last details include transferring communications infrastructure for the facility, such as the phone system and communications towers.

“I’d say we’re very close, within the next couple of weeks,” he said. “We’d be able to at least have the trucks over there. I’m not sure that it would be fully operational … but they’d be able to respond to calls.”

Regarding the budget, Postings again said the project was also close to what they had planned.

“As of the end of February, we were on budget. I won’t say that we have contingency,” he said. “We have definitely utilized every penny to make this thing work.”

For a grand opening, in light of COVID-19 restrictions, the village will likely be looking at some kind of virtual event such as a video tour.

The village is paying for the new hall through borrowing, which received voter assent in December 2019 for the $4.2 million budget.