If the County of Grande Prairie wants to build a new fire station in the hamlet of La Glace, it’s likely going to cost them around $1.57 million. Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the Regional Fire Service is working with a landowner in the hamlet, but can’t say where just yet.
“They’ve found a location that they believe they are able to secure. The size of the hall would be similar and the cost would be similar to the total cost for the Sexsmith Fire Hall, realizing that it may be presenting a little bit large for the area.
A review done in March found that the current facility needs to be replaced as the population is growing and the services the fire department offers are expanding. In the meantime, Beaupre says the extra space could be used to store public works equipment.
“Like snow plows or gravel trucks; something like that so they don’t have to travel back and forth so far to maintain roads in the northwest part of the County.”
The practice is already used locally, as one bay of the Dunes fire hall houses snow removal fans.
Building the new station was originally going to be looked at in the 2019 budget, but at Monday’s council meeting, it was pushed up to 2018 budget talks, which will happen this fall. Beaupre says they want to look at it earlier and the volunteers and gear have outgrown the current building.
“The problem is that the equipment, like everything else, evolves over the years, structures change and they need different equipment. Some of the equipment they have presented has filled up the capacity in the building and you can’t even walk around the end of one piece in the fire hall.”
There would also be training benefits with more open space to work with in their downtime.
As for the old fire hall, once replaced, the County plans to hold on to it. It could be used for public works in the future as the hamlet’s water and sewer systems are upgraded.
County council has also approved working with the Bezanson Agricultural Society and the Bezanson Legion to see if they would let it buy the land their fire hall is on from the province at fair market value. The property is currently on disposition land and is leased from the Alberta government.
“It allows us to make improvements to the fire hall without having to have a consultation with the government on the leased land… because the Bezanson fire hall and its volunteers are an extension of the County of Grande Prairie, it makes sense for us to own the land.”
The province will normally only sell Crown land to municipalities through a public auction, but the County is making the case that the sale would be for the good of the public. If approved, the land would be subleased back to the local groups.