In the event of an emergency, Highlands will soon be even more ready. Construction continues on a new east firehall in Highlands, replacing the decades-old volunteer-built facility with the district’s only seismically sound public building.
“It is going to be fantastic for the municipality to have a post-disaster building in the district,” said Fire Chief Dean Ford. “If anything unfortunate happens, we will be able to respond to our residents and give them a hand.”
The 356-square-metre facility will include room for four fire vehicles including a pumper, tank truck, a mini-pumper and a bush truck. It will also have a 400-square-foot meeting and training room and room to accommodate the eight to 10 volunteer firefighters who will be working out of the facility.
“The best part (of the new building) is the fact the building we had, if there was an earthquake (there) was a really good chance it wouldn’t have survived,” Ford said. “(This) building will definitely be there so when the residents need (us) we will be there. The guarantee the building is still standing is fantastic.”
The foundation has been poured for the $1.3-million facility and final building completion is expected in spring or early summer of 2015.
While the current fire hall served its time, Ford said, it was falling into disrepair and had areas that were no longer accessible, as well as inadequate by today’s standards.
The new facility is being built on the same site as the current building, with half of the original building coming down as the new one comes up.
Highlands Mayor Jane Mendum is also excited to see the new facility take shape.
“Council has been pleased to support the fire department’s wish to replace this hall,” she said. “It will serve the residents of Highlands for decades to come. It lessens response time having the two fire halls.”
Ford hopes the new building will breathe new life into the community and perhaps even attract some new volunteer firefighters.
“It’s less of an eyesore and (will be) something the community can be proud of.”