Council accepted a recommendation from its committee of the whole to start a budget plan for future construction of a fire training facility for the Clarence-Rockland Fire Department.
The plan begins with reallocating money in the 2020 budget that was set aside to replace the SUV at CR Station 1 for field use by senior fire department staff. Replacement cost of the specially equipped SUV was $72,000 but CR Fire Chief Pierre Voisine thinks the money would be better spent as the starting point for a special fund to build a containerized fire training facility.
Chief Voisine argued the case for the budget funding change in a recent report to councils committee of the whole. Right now Clarence-Rockland sends its firefighters, both full-time and volunteer, to the fire training facility in Ottawa, at a cost of about $3000 each time for a trainee group, for any special training needs that are not possible at their home stations.
In his report, Chief Voisine noted that the current fire protection master plan’s recommendations and the past few years of callouts for the department indicate “a need for live-fire training” to ensure that local fire station crews have all the skills they need to deal with any number of potential situations. The city could also earn revenue by offering the facility for use to neighbouring municipalities for their firefighter training needs.
Past reviews of the expense for a local fire training facility estimated $500,000 as the possible cost. But Voisine’s report noted modifications to the design plan, along with “some in-house ingenuity” could bring the projected cost down to about $200,000.
“The $72,000 will go a long way in achieving this,” Voisine stated in his report, adding that the rest of the funding requirements would be part of his department’s 2021 budget plan list for council to review.
Council approved transferring the $72,000 into a special holding fund for a fire training facility and to make further funding for construction of the facility part of the 2021 budget discussion.