Fire Chief Stan Metcalfe and his crew of volunteer firefighters admire the sign, marking the location of their future fire hall and training centre on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. The new facility will be the fourth hall to be constructed in Beaverlodge, and aims to begin breaking ground summer 2020.
The Beaverlodge Fire Department revealed the sign marking the location of the future home for its volunteer fire department Monday following presentations from the town mayor, fire chief and County of Grande Prairie.A project currently seven years in the works, the Beaverlodge Fire Department continues to fundraise in order to both construct and equip the future building to better serve the needs of the needs of the town and the staff.“It’s emotional for me,” said Fire Chief Stan Metcalfe. “I served a number of years as the President of the firefighter’s association and so to see firsthand the work this crew puts in to make a day like today become a reality is almost overwhelming.”“We’re from the community— each and every one of us so it’s great to be supported. It shows us that the work we’re doing is important to the community.”Fundraising for the facility officially started in 2012 and has since seen over $250,000 raised by the volunteer staff just to equip the building for service—separate from construction funding.Beaverlodge Mayor Gary Rycroft explained that the County of Grande Prairie has donated $500,000 and Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) has donated $100,000 of the estimated $1 million necessary to construct the compound. Completion of the new hall will mark the fourth for the town.“It’s a strategic but necessary thing to represent the County of Grande Prairie,” said County Reeve Leanne Beaupre.“It’s important that we contribute to the ongoing operations of each of (the) fire halls in our municipalities.”Improvements over the current fire station aim to include significantly increased bay space—able to house and maintain all of the active response vehicles year-round, a larger classroom that can comfortably seat the entire staff for classes and meetings, as well as updated showers and decontamination stations for post-operations.Metcalfe said the current station operates in very tight quarters both for staff and equipment, noting the current inability to seat people or move about effectively, and remarked about needing to keep one of the response vehicles off site due to a lack of bay space.Work to begin the construction of the facility and adjacent training hall is expected to officially break ground in the late spring to early summer next year, granted forgiving ground conditions and timely site planning.“Wherever we position this building on this lot, its foundation won’t be made of concrete—it’ll be the love of this group that holds that building up,” said Metcalfe.