Middlesex Centre’s fire department officially opens its new fire hall in Coldstream

Middlesex Centre’s fire department officially opens its new fire hall in Coldstream
By Jonathon Juha
Strathroy Age Dispatch
Link to article: Middlesex Centre’s fire department officially opens its new fire hall in Coldstream

Middlesex Centre director of community services Scott Mairs, left, and fire Chief Colin Toth stand outside the department’s new fire hall in Coldstream. JONATHAN JUHA/STRATHROY AGE DISPATCH/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

After years of planning and dreaming about it, Middlesex Centre firefighters finally have a new place to call home.

Now in the past is the old structure on Ilderton Road, initially used as a school, that for decades served as a station for various generations of local firefighters.

On Thursday, Dec. 20, representatives from the municipality, as well as local residents and the area’s MP and MPP, gathered for the official opening of the department’s new fire hall in Coldstream, a 10,000 sq. ft., $2.8 million state-of-the-art facility officials hope will serve the community for the next 60 years.

The new hall, believed to be Canada’s first net-zero, carbon-neutral fire station, is located right next to the municipal offices and the local library.

It has two charging stations for electric vehicles, solar panels on top of the structure, and a large training section capable of accommodating up to 40 people.

Something Middlesex Centre fire Chief Colin Toth said he was particularly excited about.

“The biggest thing for us was the space,” he said when asked about some of the challenges they faced at the older fire hall. “When my firefighters were doing their training they would have to pull all the vehicles out . . . and do the best they could.

“This training facility is state-of-the-art. We have Wi-Fi, we have multiple connections to connect different devices, and we are going to be hosting a lot of training events for local and surrounding firefighters now that we can. It gives us that ability.”

Though the idea of building a new hall had been floated around for many years, it wasn’t probably until 2009 when things started to take shape before really accelerating in 2014, said Scott Mairs, director of community services for the municipality.

“It has been an interesting process to get us to this stage,” he said. “Lots of conversations, lots of meetings, lots of co-ordination and planning that went into it, so it was by no means a small undertaking.”

As part of the planning, it was also important for the municipality to leave room for expansion, Mairs added.

“We didn’t want to undersell ourselves,” he said.

A point also praised by Toth.

“It seems everything in the fire service, the trucks are getting bigger, and the responsibilities and requirements firefighters are expected to provide keep growing and growing, so the facility will grow with us and we are looking well into the future with this facility,” he said.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, who was present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said the new hall was a needed and long-awaited addition to the community and praised council for its vision for the project.

“Middlesex Centre is one of those municipalities in Middlesex County and around London that is really growing, so having a new state-of-the-art fire department will serve this community and families here for generations to come,” he said.

“They have about 25 volunteer firefighters based out of Coldstream, and having a facility like this will only encourage more volunteers to come forward and serve.”

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