The City of Quesnel has received a 2 1/2 million dollar grant from the provincial and federal governments.
It comes from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s new COVID-19 community resilience stream.
Mayor Bob Simpson says it is a very unique grant.
“It’s a provincial-federal funded grant where they accepted applications for renovations of existing public buildings related to emergency services. It’s very unique that they would get involved in renovating existing buildings that are publicly owned.”
Simpson says it will be used to do a complete renovation.
‘To allow us, for example, to move the ladder truck, which is currently over on the west side, into our downtown core where we need it to be, to improve all of the bays for our vehicles moving in and out, add things like gendered washrooms which we currently don’t have, and improve the all around occupational safety and efficiency of the current building.”
Simpson says it will also give local taxpayers a reprieve, as a full replacement of the building was in the capital plan at a cost of 7 or 8 million dollars.
“By getting the grant we’re going to extend the life of that fire hall for another 15 years or so, so we push a potential building replacement to the out years, so it gives direct relief for quite some time to our local taxpayers.”
Simpson says it works out logistically as well.
“We’re fortunate in that the portion of our public works yard that we’re vacating on the upstream side of the Johnston Bridge has a number of covered bays, it has a closed in mechanics shop etc, so that will become the temporary housing for the fire department.”
He says the plan is to do it as soon as possible, but they have until 2023 to get it completed under the grant.
The downtown fire hall was originally built in 1956 and has been renovated a few times over the years, but not since the early 90’s.
Simpson says it has been an amazing year so far for obtaining grants, as he says the city has already received almost 14 million dollars midway through the year.
He says they received 6.1 million all of last year.