Regional Fire Hall
In 2020, the Provincial government offered a grant (Municipal Stimulus Program) to municipalities for capital infrastructure projects. The criteria stated that it must be:
- a new project, not previously included in a municipal budget,
- that would result in reduced costs and,
- improve service to ratepayers without increasing taxes.
Camrose County Council discussed the possibility of a Regional Fire Hall to serve the New Norway, Ferintosh and Edberg areas. Currently, the County operates a fire hall in both New Norway and Ferintosh and supports the operational and equipment costs (and provides a truck) at the fire hall in the Village of Edberg. In addition to the fixed costs (utilities, maintenance, and insurance) of the three older buildings, there are increased costs of having duplicated equipment in each of the halls. Camrose County applied for the grant for this project and was successful.
An RFP was sent out in January of 2021 for the construction of the fire hall, a simple 4-bay building with a locker room and training area. The contract was awarded to Align Builders. The chosen site will be along Highway 609 between Ferintosh and Edberg just east of Range Road 211. The site was selected because it is land already owned by Camrose County, has good highway access, is adjacent to a regional waterline (coming in 2021), and is central to the combined fire districts. Construction should finish in late 2021 and the integration of the services will occur in early 2022. Budget figures will be finalized when the proposals are received.
The Regional Fire Hall will consolidate the costs of operating the two County fire hall buildings into just one building. It will also act as a central site for equipment, meaning that money can be invested in improved equipment for one hall that can be used for the whole area.
The volunteer fire crews will continue to be staffed from all three areas, while giving the crews a central place to train, and meet. Analysis has shown that the travel time in the event of a fire will not be negatively impacted, and as the crews will be working together, it will be more likely that a crew can be quickly mustered when drawing from a greater number of volunteers.