By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville –Town Council gave unanimous second and third reading to a bylaw that will allow town property to be used for a new joint training facility for Morinville and St. Albert firefighters. Council had previously given thumbs up Aug. 28 to allow the Morinville Fire Department to enter into a joint use agreement with their St. Albert counterparts, the first step necessary to establish the facility, proposed to be located just west of East Boundary Road. First reading was heard at the Sept. 11 meeting, setting the stage for Monday night’s mandatory public hearing. That hearing received no letters from the public or residents wishing to speak to the proposed matter.
The amendment to the Urban Reserve District portion of the municipality’s Land Use Bylaw allows for the discretionary use of the land to accommodate the training facility.
The proposed training facility project will develop through four stages over a three-year period. Stage one was entering into the joint use agreement with the St. Albert Fire Department. The second stage will involve preparing the site for use, including fencing, installing a smoke house used for practice, and constructing a Morinville / St. Albert Live Training Structure. The smoke house has already been acquired by the Morinville Fire Department. The training structure is to be obtained with St. Albert Fire Department grant monies and would allow fire fighters to train in an actual burning facility. The third and fourth stages of the training facility will involve acquiring additional training props for the two structures as well as an evaluation of the temporary facility. The temporary facility will also have space for vehicle extrication training, a skill set that is used on a full third of the fire department’s calls.
Both departments will contribute equally towards the estimated $25,000 for the first two phases of the project.
The Morinville Fire Department believes the facility will allow for cost-effective local training, better enabling firefighters to acquire the skills needed to perform their duties.
Funding resources for the first two phases of the facility will include in-kind volunteer labour, revenues from the Fire Department’s calendar sales as well as a reallocation of $1,500 in training monies left over in the 2012 budget.