Old Town fire hall for sale

 Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Coun. Vince McKay, who has also served on the fire department for nearly 20 years, says the Old Town firehall is still needed and should not be sold.


Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Coun. Vince McKay, who has also served on the fire department for nearly 20 years, says the Old Town firehall is still needed and should not be sold.

While council voted in favour of selling the building and lot in Old Town currently used as storage for the Hay River Fire Department, one councillor – who is also the department’s deputy fire chief – isn’t pleased with the decision.

“We wanted six bays in the new hall, and we had to take one away,” said Vince McKay, who was the one councillor to vote against the motion.

He said when the sixth bay was cut out of the plans, in the ensuing discussions about storage, council decided the Old Town hall would continue to be used.

As The Hub reported last month, the plan is to sell the lot and relocate the gear currently stored there in another existing facility, although there was some discussion in council about potentially building a new facility for it.

McKay said council failed to make an informed decision, lacking concrete numbers on how much it costs to run the current building, plus the costs associated with moving it.

“It’s under $10,000 a year,” he said.
Coun. Brad Mapes was vocal about his support for selling the lot, but said the funds raised from the sale should go into the reserve fund for the fire department.

“Their thing is that they’ve already outgrown the new hall,” he said. “And I just find that hard to believe.”

He noted that, in his opinion, the town is not in a financial position to keep an unnecessary building and that the sale would generate funds for use in capital projects as well as reap new tax revenue along with a new owner.

Mayor Andrew Cassidy said that while not everyone may be happy, the matter has been voted on.

“It was a little bit contentious,” he said. “But we had the majority of council decide that this was an asset they wanted to sell.”

The motion had six votes in favour, with one councillor absent.

-Sarah Ladik