NINE MILE RIVER: A local builder has been awarded the contract to build the proposed expansion of the Nine Mile River Fire department hall to better serve their community.

Fire Chief Tyler Dauphinee confirmed Kel-Greg Enterprises of Elmsdale had won the right to construct the addition to their current hall, located at the intersection of Highway 14 and Highway 214. The work is expected to begin in March—depending on the weather—and take 22 weeks.

“The work will more than double the size of the hall, increasing safety due to currently trucks are parked only a few inches apart from each other with the lack of space,” said Dauphinee. “We will be able to purchase trucks to fit our needs to serve the community and not to fit the hall.

“We are expanding our parking, paving the front driveways and in front of the hall.”

He said part of the work will include a shower room so members will have a place to clean up after a fire call and not bring the contaminants home to their families.

“A radio room will be placed inside,” he added. “The goal is to get a computer to assist with admin and to allow us to run “I am responding”, a software program that allows members to communicate through an App to other members that they are responding to a call before they arrive at the hall. It’s a great tool for knowing if more resources need to be called.”

Dauphinee said he’s pleased with the result so far.

“It has been two years planning and researching the addition,” he said. “I would like to thank the Municipality of East Hants for their involvement in guiding us through the process, without that help I feel we would not have been as successful.

“I feel proud of all the work the committee and the membership have put into the project. It is very rewarding to see everything wrapping up and I look forward to what the future of this department has to offer.”

Dauphinee said the highest rated proposal for the project came in at $458,832.75, and they will be making a few minor changes which includes adding another emergency exit door.

“The project will be funded through a guaranteed loan supported by the municipality,” he said.

The project is pending approval from the province to allow the Municipality of East Hants to provide the department the guaranteed loan.

Dianna Isenor is the Planning Coordinator from Kel-Greg for the expansion project. She spoke briefly about what the plans include.

“It’s very exciting to do a local project,” said Isenor. “I think it’s good for both sides to have a local builder.”

She said the work will see a 40 by 50 addition to the right side of the building, which will allow for two more operating apparatus bays.

“It’s going to be an ICF structure,” she explained. An ICF structure is Insulating concrete forms. They are forms used to hold fresh concrete that remain in place permanently to provide insulation for the structure they enclose.

Isenor said they will be installing exhaust systems for the trucks and some new site work.

She said she was shocked when she paid a visit to the hall and saw the small quarters the firefighters have been working with.

“I think it will be a huge benefit for the fire department to have so much more space to be able to function more efficiently,” said Isenor.

Dauphinee agreed.

“The added space will reduce the chance of accidents inside the hall, and improve health and safety of our volunteers and their families,” he said. “The additional parking and pavement will make daily life easier for members, now able to have more space for cleaning hose on asphalt instead of gravel, and the dark asphalt will help melt the ice that forms in winter.

“With the addition of a cistern we will be able to store good water for washing and cleaning trucks. Currently our water is very hard and has a strong smell of Sulphur, not ideal for showering or cleaning trucks. The membership overall is very excited to see this project move forward.”

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Patrick Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!