Ground Breaking to Start Soon for New Fire Hall

The long-awaited project will break ground soon, now that the tender for the construction of the new fire hall has been approved.

The new facility will replace the existing Fire Hall on King Street east in Millbrook which has been serving the community since the 1960’s.  The current hall has a capacity for two fire apparatus and the operation currently has an inventory of four.  The need for a new facility has been discussed for many years, reinforced by the deficiencies in the current building which would require an estimated investment of $800,000 to bring up to current regulations.   The new facility will also include space to accommodate the current and projected needs of the Peterborough County-City Ambulance services through a lease agreement currently in the hands of township and County solicitors that has yet to be finalized.  The lease will provide a long term stream of payments to mitigate the cost of the facility to the township.

After much discussion, a June 2021 Council decision established the site of the new facility at 988 County Rd. 10, adjacent to the Municipal office.  This location facilitates the quick assembly of volunteer fire-fighters to minimize their response times; is close to a high proportion of properties thereby minimizing the impact on insurance rates; has direct access to good transportation routes; is immediately available to allow quick project implementation; and being on municipal land, it is cost-effective.  Vehicles will exit the facility responding to calls directly onto County Rd. 10 and return on Highlands Blvd within the new Towerhill North subdivision.

The Fire Hall Tender was posted in May, and bids opened last month.  Seven bids were received, ranging in price from $6,845,000 to $8,770,000.  After reviewing the documents and completing reference checks, the low price proposal provided by Gay Company of Bowmanville was recommended.

The project is scheduled to start this month, with substantial completion expected by next September.  Some delays have already been incorporated into this schedule, such as the delivery of some of the pre-engineered portions of the building, other issues such as additional unanticipated supply chain disruptions may also impact the project.

Even this lowest price brings some sticker shock.  When serious discussions began in 2016, the cost of the project was estimated to be $4.9 million.  In a June 2021 report from Fire Chief Balfour, the forecast was bumped to $5.8 million; despite this projection, Council established an upset construction cost maximum of $4,200,000 for the tendering process last year.  Market conditions have dictated a different reality.

Including the net municipal HST, the tender rises to $6,965,472.   An additional 10% contingency fund totalling $696,547 and $317,491 for Construction Contract Administration and General Review of Construction brings the final budget amount to $ $7,979,510.

The project will be funded through the Fire Hall Infrastructure Reserve ($1,604,575) and the Asset Replacement Reserve ($7,357), another $3,204,476 from a Development Charge debenture funded by future residential developments and a $3,163,102 municipal debenture funded by lease payments from the Paramedic contract and municipal taxes.  This final source would create an annual debt payment of an estimated $203,300 over 20 years at 2.62% interest.  The net burden on the municipal tax rate will be offset by payments from the paramedic lease contract, which have yet to be established. KG

Editor’s note: additional reserve funding stemming from the sale of the Syer Line property will significantly reduce the magnitude of the municipal debenture.  Details will appear in a future edition.

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