The Town of St. Paul Council has decided to look into options on how to make the Town Hall function better; which includes the possibility of moving the fire hall. Councillor Dwight Wiebe brought up the need for FCSS to come out of the basement of the building, stating it was not an acceptable location for the organization to operate out of; the main reasons being it is cramped for room and moms with strollers and young children have a hard time going up and down the stairs.
“We had started down a road where we were going to try to make room for the FCSS” Councillor Wiebe addressed the rest of Town Council on Monday evening. “The situation downstairs is totally unacceptable and I need to revive whatever it is that we (the Town) is going to do.” Discussion of renovations to Town Hall are nothing new, however the steam has evaporated some and Councillor Wiebe would like to keep the momentum, ideas, and planning going.
“I, personally, we like to pursue the idea of a new fire hall on 53rd avenue. Having said that, I’d also like to pursue the idea of getting our engineer here to take a look at [Town Hall] in its entirety and come up with a price of how much it would cost us to do a plan in this building.” The idea of moving the fire hall would be beneficial to the functionality of Town Hall, which is home to Town Administration, FCSS & Parent Link, Parks & Recreation, and the Iron Horse Trail administration.
The building is also quite old and the staff is outgrowing it. However, should the fire department move, that would free up a lot of space on the east wing. As well as likely benefit the functionality of the fire department. “I would like to know how much it would cost to renovate, if the fire department was not in that area.”
“We had a meeting before, but it was to build a portion (or add-on) to the building in the middle where the parking lot is (south side where the alley parking is located),” Wiebe believes there are other options and potential to the space, “I just don’t know how much potential.”
Mayor Glenn Andersen advised Councillor Wiebe to make a motion to Council to find out how much an engineering study would cost the Town and to come back to Council with an idea of costs to move forward with the study. Council and Mayor seemed in agreement with Councillor Wiebe that having FCSS & Parent Link in the basement was not ideal; but also know there are limitations to what the Town can do due to budget restraints.
Council talked that the ideal situation would be a new regional fire hall that could be shared with the County of St. Paul and could even possibly be home to an ambulance bay. There may even be grant funding available, Council discussed options of Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) grants to help with the funding.
“We have a plan in our heads on how we can make this work,” said Mayor of St. Paul, Glenn Andersen, “there’s no doubt the fire hall takes up a large percentage of this building. They take up the basement and the whole east side. I believe having a plan and taking a look at it is where we need to go.”
On Councillor Wiebe’s motion, the Town moved to get a quote on the cost of the engineering study to get the process of renovating Town Hall going.