Malahide council goes ahead with new fire hall
Malahide council goes ahead with new fire hall
September 8, 2017
St. Thomas Times-Journal
Article by: Laura Broadley
 
Malahide firefighters (File photo)

Malahide firefighters (File photo)

Malahide council approved the construction of the new south fire hall despite it being $800,000 over budget.

“We’re going to be breaking ground as soon as possible,” said Malahide Mayor Dave Mennill.
 
There were 10 bids that came in for the new fire hall at the end of July, the lowest one being just over $2.9 million. But with a budget stuck at just over $2.1 million it left Malahide Township in a lurch. The site work, due to soil conditions, was the major factor in the high cost of construction, according to a staff report.
 
“The reason behind (council’s decision) is that there’s efficiencies we’ll be redesigning to even out the calls,” Mennill said.
 
Mennill said the fire service is going from 100 firefighters to 80, from 12 vehicles to nine vehicles.
 
“The good news is that this fire hall will pay for itself over a 20 year period just through savings,” Mennill said.
 
The purpose of the new fire hall is to replace two aging and outdated fire halls in the township that currently has four stations.
 
“The two fire halls were built in the 60s. They are going to need some major attention going forward,” Mennill said.
 
Staff presented council with three options: Option 1 being to go ahead with the construction as originally proposed with a cost of $2.9 million. Option 2 was also a suggestion to go ahead with the construction but with savings of $117,000 by taking out some items. Option 3 was to not go ahead with construction of a new building and go ahead with necessary repairs on the two older fire halls.
 
Staff recommended council choose either Option 1 or 2 because of the long term benefits a new fire hall would have, and the money it would save in the long run. Option 3 would make the least economic sense because it would only stave off the need for a new fire hall for a few years.
 
“The new hall came in more expensive than what we anticipated but because after hurricane Katrina the standards for emergency buildings just went through the roof and they have to be built like Fort Knox,” Mennill said.
 
Brent Smith, director of fire and emergency services, said the new fire hall wasn’t meant to be over-the-top, just functional.
 
“Quite frankly we were shocked when the bids came in where they did because we didn’t expect that. But we were really not able to identify anything further that we could cut from the building to lower it,” Smith said.
 
The plan to go from 100 firefighters to 80 is going to happen over five years through attrition.
 
“We not eliminating a single firefighter,” Smith said. “We don’t anticipate that to be an issue.”