“We’ve completed phase one for the most part,” said Fire Chief Brian Wilson. The new Station Three building, which will house both the Rockland fire station trucks and also provide a new home for the Prescott-Russell ambulance units assigned to the area, is now complete to the point that all the fire trucks have moved over from the old station house into their new bays.
While some work remains to finish the roof portion of the new fire station, Chief Wilson noted that the focus of Phase Two of the project is on revamping the interior of the old brick station house. They will create training classroom space for firefighter crews, and also an emergency operations management “mission control” office, for use during disaster situations like the past flooding episodes, which plagued Rockland earlier this year and in 2017.
“An important benefit, now, is that we will have a proper training facility available for our personnel,” said Chief Wilson.
In the past, the fire department had to find sites elsewhere in the Clarence-Rockland area, suitable for some kinds of training exercises. The alternative was to schedule a trip to Ottawa to use the fire training facility there.
Some interior work on the main part of the new fire station still remains. Chief Wilson noted that crews have to store their protective clothing, also known as “bunker gear”, in the truck bays, because the proper storage units are not yet installed. That and other final interior details will be completed over the winter season.
Chief Wilson estimates that, if nothing happens to delay the renovation work, the new Station Three building will be finished by the end of January, and ready for full occupancy in February. Both the Station Three personnel and the PR ambulance unit will be able to settle into their new home. For now, the ambulance units continue to work out of their Landry Road headquarters.
There will be one final exterior item to finish in the spring. A first coat of asphalt for the new station was poured out and leveled in November, before the arrival of the first snowfall of the season. It will suffice to bear fire truck and ambulance traffic over the winter. Next spring will see the final second coat of asphalt placed.
“Our hope, then, is to welcome the community to a grand opening celebration,” said Chief Wilson. “It is very exciting to see it all coming to completion, and we are on budget.”