County of Wetaskiwin council is pondering a new fire station for the Buck Lake department after a report was given on the condition of the old hall during the regular council meeting Feb. 11.
Director of emergency Services Mike Zajac presented councilors with a report on the Buck Lake fire station. “The Buck Lake / Alder Flats Fire Department have outgrown their current facility and are in need of a renovation / addition or a replacement fire station,” stated Zajac in his report to councilors.
“The current Buck Lake / Alder Flats Fire Hall is located at 63059 Hwy. #13 and was purchased in October of 1987. The fire hall underwent an addition and renovation in June of 2002. Since 1987, the staffing in the fire department has increased and trucks purchased today are taller, longer and heavier to meet the demands of the current type of calls and the volumes.”
Zajac stated a close examination resulted in the feeling a new building was the best option. “In July 2018 Director of Emergency Services Mike Zajac met with Colin Roggeveen of RPM Consulting Services Inc. to discuss the options to renovate the existing fire station or construct a new station on another site,” stated Zajac.
“On January 30th, 2019, Mr. Zajac attended a meeting at the Buck Lake Seniors Center with representation from the Buck Lake / Alder Flats Fire Department and the Zone 5 Fire and Rescue Society. Options of a new fire station or an addition / renovation were presented to the group, as well as the pros and cons of an addition / renovation or new fire station.
“It was the opinion of the Buck Lake / Alder Flats Fire Department and the Zone 5 Fire and Rescue Society, Mr. Roggeveen and Mr. Zajac that an addition / renovation were not the best option due to the current configuration of the existing fire station.” He noted that, to help with the cost of a new building, certain fire truck replacement would be pushed to 20 years, rather than the standard 15.
Reeve Terry Van de Kraats said it does seem inefficient to stay in the old building.
Councilor Lyle Seely said the current building has already been added on to twice.
Location was also discussed. Zajac pointed out the current lot doesn’t have a lot of extra spec, and space to the east is wet and swampy. He noted some discussions have taken place with a property owner who has land that is of interest nearby (see map).
Councilor Bill Krahn asked if the old fire station could be sold. Zajac said he had no idea if that would be done or not.
As far as finances go, Zajac stated in his report, “The Buck Lake / Alder Flats Fire Department has a combined total Reserve balance of $666,827.92 in the Buck Lake / Alder Flats Fire Department Capital Reserve and Operating Reserve.”
Seely pointed out the proposed new site may or may not require intersection improvements and if so, the price of those could affect the entire project.
Councilors passed a motion for the county to begin investigating purchase of the nearby five-acre site for a new Buck Lake fire station, and report back at a future meeting.