Brant OKs building three new fire halls

Brant OKs building three new fire halls
Brantford Expositor

Work is expected to begin in the fall on three new fire halls in Cainsville, Scotland and Onondaga at a cost of more than $3.5 million.

Brant County councillors this week gave final approval for the projects, which will be financed by debenture to get them going right away,

Final design will begin immediately, Michael Bradley, general manager of operations and deputy CAO, told councillors.

All three fire halls are expected to be in commission by 2019.

Councillors were told that the fire halls are needed.

Barry McBlain, district fire chief for the Onondaga station, said the building lacks basic services.

"The last few years when it's been our time to host a mutual aid meeting, we've had to go to Cainsville Community Centre," McBlain said.

"This was not only to deal with mould issues, but the fact that we weren't guaranteed a water supply to flush toilets or to flush urinals. In fact, we had a guest speaker three weeks ago at our hall and we didn't have water to flush toilets or to flush urinals, and to be honest, it was embarrassing.

"Now, when we bring someone in to speak, it's BYOT - bring you own toilet."

A few years ago, Onondaga firefighters responded to a major vehicle accident near the fire hall, McBlain recounted.

He said that the fire hall was used by Victim Services of Brant.

"They needed somewhere to have a meeting, as well as to use the washroom facilities," he said.

"After the meeting, the question came up. They said, 'Is this really your fire hall?' It was not a proud moment for Onondaga, or the County of Brant.

"The only good thing was we did have running water that night, so we were able to flush the toilets."

The hall is also beset with electrical problems, including lights suddenly turning off, McBlain said.

"Last year we had a baseboard heater that arched and sparked. Fortunately, we were there to shut the power down and it was replaced."

McBlain said the trucks can't be washed at the site, especially in winter..

"We take them to the City of Brantford to a car wash or we take them to our farm, where we have equipment and we can wash them."

After a heavy rainfall or spring thaw, there's always water in the basement, which contributes to mould problems, McBlain said.

"If we have water, it's not drinkable."

To make matters worse, he said, the building is overrun with rodents that get into the firefighting equipment.

"We had an issue a few years ago, when a firefighter was getting ready to attend to a chimney fire. He went to put his helmet on. Two mice ran down his face, down his chest and down to the floor. They had started to build a nest in his helmet."

The building also lacks Internet service, McBlain said.

"For many years we have used our own personal computers and Internet service to write reports for the County of Brant and to prepare for training. I believe that every other hall does have Internet service."

Coun. Joan Gatward, whose ward includes the Cainsville and Onondaga fire halls, said she supports building the three new halls.

"I'm happy to see the new Onondaga fire hall getting done," she said.

A new Cainsville fire hall and community centre will be built at Ewart Avenue and Prince Charles Road. The fire hall is estimated to cost $1.37 million.

The new Scotland fire hall will be built for an estimated $1.06 million at 83 Simcoe St., up the road from the current one at 43 Simcoe.

The new Onondaga fire hall will be built for an estimated $1.06 million at 734 Highway 54, with additional space to support a new customer service office. Another $80,000 will be needed to pay for the demolition of the current customer service office.

The land on which the current Cainsville and Scotland halls stand eventually will be sold with the proceeds going toward the cost of the new halls.

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