It was fitting for the Town of Clarenville to approve the bid for the construction of a new fire hall in the community during volunteer week, with the Clarenville Volunteer Department in attendance for the news.
At an unscheduled meeting on April 11, council thanked both employees of the town, as well as firefighters, not only for the work they do in emergency response, but also for all the contributions leading up to the confirmation of a new fire hall, to be built on O’Mahony Drive.
Mayor Frazer Russell called the announcement “wonderful” and “historic.”
“It’s a dire need for the Town of Clarenville and a welcome addition to the fire department,” said Russell.
“I think it’s onerous on the council to provide our firefighters with the best possible equipment and space for them. I think it’s important that our residents know, not only do we have a well-trained fire department, but you have to give them a proper equipment and place to do their work.”
The request for proposals was unique to begin with. Chief administrative officer David Harris explained there were two options for contractors – a bid including the price for the complete design and build for the fire hall, or what the building would cost as a design, build and annual lease agreement.
Harris says the decision to go with Goobies Rentals and Contracting Ltd., was simple because it was the lowest bid at $2,369,500 and it came in at below the $2.5 million price tag they allotted for the project.
Harris explains that if they were to enter a funding agreement with the province for a fire hall, they would be required to contribute at least $2.5 million in a cost-share agreement anyway. Therefore, council made its decision to go on its own to build the hall, hoping to do so at a cheaper price and not sacrificing capital works funding from government that needs to be used to replace aging infrastructure.
This way, the town can afford to finance the project through borrowing with CIBC over a 25-year term as opposed to entering a lease agreement with the contractor.
Council unanimously approved both the tender decision and the bank loan at the meeting.
The design, which is nearly identical to the design provided by council in the RFP, will have three-bay, six-truck storage (the department currently has three pumper trucks and an equipment vehicle), allowing room for growth in the future.
The bay doors are also bigger than the existing fire hall, which was built in 1970 as part of the current town hall and had an extension added in 1981, allowing the possible addition of a ladder truck, which is too big to store in their current building.
In addition, the design also has an unfinished lounge and storage area on the second floor which would be vital if the department ever became a fully-employed arm of the community.
Fire chief Cory Feltham said they’re very happy and thankful to move forward with the plans for the new hall, noting it is more centrally located in Clarenville, allowing the firefighters better access for calls in the future.
“With this new fire hall, this will help us, our members, to be more organized, train, (be) more efficient, more space for us to do things … I think we will provide, no better, just as good of service as we always did.”
Coun. Paul Tilley added the fire hall is what the community needs to grow and improve service in the future.
“It’s an affirmation of the growth we anticipate in Clarenville,” said Tilley.
“The development of this fire hall will ensure for the next number of decades that Clarenville will grow and prosper.”
Harris says, first, they need the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment to approve the loan for funding. Then, they’re expecting site work to begin in early to mid-May. And while these processes will largely depend on the contractor doing the work, he hopes construction will begin mid-summer.
There’s a deadline on the finalized building for March 2020, but Harris says he hopes the fire department can move to their new location sometime as early as January.
The request for proposal bid results for the new Clarenville Fire Hall
Colby 2000 Ltd – $270,000
East-Glo Electrical Ltd. – $315,000
Bulldog Contracting Ltd. – $550,000
Contractor/tender price (excluding HST)
Goobie Rentals and Contracting Ltd. – $2,369,500
GerGar Enterprises Ltd. – $2,425,000
York Developments Ltd. – $2,498,000
Can-Am Platforms and Construction Ltd. – $2,685,974.11