The proposed Cumberland fire hall is taking a key step forward

An alternate approval process has given village council the ability to adopt a bylaw, to borrow up to $4.2 million to build a new hall.

It’ll be on property the village has already purchased on Cumberland Road.

The village says the new hall will “resolve outstanding operational safety and structural issues at the aging existing facility.”

The new post-disaster building would also serve as Cumberland’s main Emergency Operations Centre.

“We know that a new fire hall is critical to keeping our community safe and we’re glad to be able to move this important strategic priority forward,” said Mayor Leslie Baird. 

“We heard from the community that there was interest in keeping this work as cost effective as possible, and that will remain the priority moving forward.”

An AAP process (formerly known as a counter-petition) asks electors who do not support borrowing to sign and submit an ‘elector response form’ indicating their opposition. 

If 10 per cent submit a form, the bylaw can’t be adopted. 

In this case, 57 people returned forms, below the 310 (10 per cent) threshold.

The $4.2 million borrowed will mean an increase in taxes for capital debt repayment, and operating costs for the fire protection service. 

Borrowed for 20 years at four per cent interest, it’s estimated this will result in a $142 per year increase on Cumberland’s average-priced home ($431,847). 

The amount will increase or decrease based on home value and interest rates. 

On the median commercial property this will result in a $294 increase/year.

With the funding now approved, council will consider final reading of the loan authorization bylaw and – if approved – the project team will move forward with awarding tenders for construction, with the plan to begin work in 2020.

Highlights of the new hall include:

  • overall 11,580 square foot building area
  • potential for future apparatus bay expansion
  • fire department historical display
  • granular parking area at rear (permeable)
  • rain gardens and bioswales for stormwater management
  • bicycle parking, electrical vehicle parking and reserved parking for people with disabilities
  • tree and landscaping buffers
  • hard and soft landscaping for pedestrian connectivity.