September 19, 2008
Funding Announced for New Fire Hall
Funding of $900,000 from the Municipal Capital Works (MCW) program is being invested to construct and equip a new fire hall in the Harbour Main district. While physically situated in South River, the new fire hall will belong to the newly-formed Bay de Grave Regional Municipal Services Corporation and serve the communities of North River, South River, Clarke�s Beach, Cupids, and Makinsons.
The Honourable Dave Denine, Minister of Municipal Affairs, was joined today by the Honourable Tom Hedderson, MHA for Harbour Main, and Gary Cummings, Chair of the Bay de Grave Regional Municipal Services Corporation, to make the announcement and officially turn the first sod at the construction site.
"This is a very important initiative for a couple of reasons," said Minister Denine. "First, it will improve the fire protection services available to area residents. We have already seen an alarming number of fires and fire-related injuries and deaths across the province this year and this government is committed to investing in improved fire protection services and equipment where possible. Secondly, this is an excellent example of how co-operation among municipalities can result in improved services for residents. By joining forces, these five communities now have the ability to construct a new and improved fire hall that will serve all area residents � an undertaking that may not have been possible separately."
The Municipal Capital Works program fosters the development of cost-shared projects in a wide range of municipal infrastructure, including water and waste water treatment, roads, recreational facilities and fire equipment. Minister Denine earlier announced that through the 2008-09 MCW program, $61.2 million will be spent on many infrastructure improvement projects province-wide. Under the program, the Provincial Government will contribute $32.4 million; the Federal Government will contribute $12 million and the municipalities will contribute $14.1 million.
The MCW program has been significantly improved by revised cost-share ratios for municipalities. These new changes state that towns with populations under 3,000 now have to contribute only 10 per cent toward the cost of capital infrastructure. Towns with populations between 3,000 and 7,000 contribute 20 per cent and the largest cities and towns with populations over 7,000 contribute 30 per cent.
"The new fire hall will be a great asset for the Bay de Grave region," said Minister Hedderson. "Our volunteer firefighters make significant sacrifices for the people they serve and this new fire hall will give them access to the calibre of facility they need to do their job. The Bay de Grave Regional Municipal Services Corporation is also to be congratulated. This shared service is an excellent example of communities coming together for the betterment of the region."
"For two and one half years our group has met, strived, and persevered at every opportunity to make this day a reality, and what a fantastic day it is," said Gary Cummings. "This choice piece of land, so strategically positioned, will soon house a new state-of-the-art fire hall. I�m extremely proud that our five small towns were able to come together, unite and co-operate for the benefit of our residents. And this is just the first step for us. Now that this hurdle is overcome, we must look forward; to see what other services we might share, be it garbage collection, water and sewer, snow clearing or maybe even to the extent of forming a regional government. I believe the time is ripe for a huge change in the way we operate."
The design work for the fire hall has been completed and the tender will be announced shortly with a tentative completion date of spring 2009.
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2008 09 19 2:10 p.m.
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