On budget and on time.
These are likely the sweetest words to any municipal leader’s ears and Mike Burkett is no exception.
The Severn Township Mayor happily helped officially open the township’s sparkling, new fire station Saturday morning, located just down the road from Orillia on Burnside Line.
“This is an exciting day,” Burkett said. "Council was fully supportive of this project and it was built with a very practical budget. It didn’t impact the levy or the residents at all.”
Costing $2.6-million, the township’s new station #2 replaces an aging, 2,400-square-foot space that officially opened 50 years ago in 1969. Demolition of the smaller building began in August of 2018 with construction starting soon after; the demolition was included in the price.
Fire Chief Tim Cranney said the 6,400-square-feet entity will serve as Severn’s central base, complementing other smaller station houses in Coldwater and South Sparrow Lake Road.
“It will make for a better response time,” Cranney said, noting the new building has plenty of room for training exercises as well as more space to house vehicles and gear.
The fire department, which has three tankers, four pumper trucks, two rescue trucks and two pickup trucks along with other equipment, is comprised of four full-time staff and a crew of 75 volunteers spread across the township.
Cranney, who became deputy chief in 2006 and chief four years ago, credited former chief Eric Dowell with first bringing the need for a renewed station #2 to council’s attention in 2011. The need was also identified in the township’s 2016 fire services master plan.
“We had a couple of years where there were no capital costs and the corporation’s been putting development (fee) charges aside,” Cranney said.
Cranney’s cousin, Owen Cranney, who was in the area for the official opening, serves as fire chief in the northern Ontario community of Manitouwadge.
“I’ve been there for 32 years and this has turned into a full-time career for me,” said Cranney, who pointed out 16 family members have served as firefighters over the years.
For his part, Cranney was impressed with the new hall.
“It’s well done and it's not over-the-top,” he said. “When you go into some new fire halls, you’d think you were going into a palace.”
Mason Morano, who joined the Severn volunteers three years ago as a way to serve his community, hopes to eventually get a full-time firefighting job.
“This building is a great upgrade and it was really needed because station #2 is right in the middle of the township,” Morano said. “We also have a lot more staff here than at the other stations.”
Added Severn Coun. Judith Cox: “This is so wonderful and functional. It’s close to the highways (11 and 12). It’s a nice hall to be proud of and a place where our fire department can store all of its equipment.”