By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
The goal of Castor Volunteer Fire Rescue moving into their new quarters took a big step forward during the June 22nd Town of Castor council meeting.
With approximately $160,000 in unplanned Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant money coming available for the 2020 calendar year, council has moved to put $100,000 of those funds toward getting the second phase of the building renovations completed.
“The extra [$160,000] is money we hadn’t planned on,” said Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee.
During the meeting Robblee did present several options to council on how to best spend the money, because there are several pieces of infrastructure in the community such as water and sewer systems, that also need work.
The decision was made to support the fire department, as the old Coil Worx building at the edge of town was purchased by the municipality several years ago, and even though the first phase of the needed renovations had been completed, the fire department has yet to move in.
Phase one of the building renovations widened the building, allowing the fire department apparatus to be able to fit into it, however, until at least a significant portion of phase two is complete, such as the bunker equipment “off-gassing” room that allows equipment used in a fire to get rid of any trapped hazardous gases in the material, the department is unable to move in.
The room needs to be built in the fire hall, but have separate ventilation from the rest of the building.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the fire department has been fundraising for years, and the feeling is that donors, “Want to see where their money went,” according to firefighter and Town of Castor Councillor Lonny Nelner.
“We do need the firemen to move into that firehall,” said Coun. Trudy Kilner, before motioning that the money be allocated for the project.
Of the remaining $60,000 to be allocated of the grant funding, $30,000 will be going towards recreation, particularly upgrades and repairs at the ball diamonds, $20,000 is allocated towards purchasing a new ‘Hotsy’ steamer for thawing culverts that freeze up, and $10,000 will go towards required water testing upgrades.
The reason for updating the steamer is the current unit owned by the municipality is an older unit and the repair costs keeping it operational are starting to mount.
Due to the way the Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant system is set up, once council determines the allocation of the funds, those allocations must be submitted to the Government of Alberta for approval, and no work will begin until that is received.