New home for Three Hills fire brigade

Female firefighters in Three Hills no longer have to hide behind their trucks to change clothes. Nor will the town’s administrators need its fire trucks custom designed to fit through the doors of its aged fire hall.

Female firefighters in Three Hills no longer have to hide behind their trucks to change clothes. Nor will the town’s administrators need its fire trucks custom designed to fit through the doors of its aged fire hall.

Last last week, provincial and federal officials flocked into Three Hills to join its council and fire department in a $2.1 million fire hall.

Some have already said the new fire hall, is too big, Chief Executive Officer Jack Ramsben said on Monday.

Its five bays accommodate all of the town’s equipment as well as Kneehill County units contracted to the town for fire service in the surrounding regions, said Ramsben.

That little bit of extra room is well deserved and will allow for growth in the town and the surrounding region, he said.

Among its features, the new fire hall meets green building standards set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and includes a training tower.

Three Hills Mayor Kevin Edwards said meeting the LEED standard reduces the new buildings’s environmental impact, in answer to desires expressed by citizens of Three Hills during creation of the town’s Integrated Sustainability Plan.

Funding for the project was split three ways, including $650,000 in economic stimulus money from the Government of Canada and another $650,000 from the Province of Alberta. The town used Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding to cover most of its share, said Ramsben. The remaining $150,000 will likely be paid off over time through a debenture to be covered by property taxes, he said.

The new building replaces a 70-year-old structure that had already served as the town office and shop in 1957 when it was turned over to the fire department, he said.

There was no room on the lot for the town’s volunteer fire force to park personal vehicles while they attended emergency calls, so they were forced to find whatever parking was available on the street.

Besides being cramped, the building had not been designed as a fire hall and so did not function as efficiently as it should, said Ramsben.

Three Hills has a volunteer fire force of about 23 people who are called out once a day, on average. Among their duties, the Three Hills fire department operates one of the county’s two main rescue vehicles, responsible for attending motor vehicle collision throughout the north half of the county, said Ramsben.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com