Fire School seeking federal funding for facility expansion

John Cunningham, Exec. Director at the N.S. Fire School in Waverley, shows MLA Bill Horne and MP Darrell Samson the proposed expansion design for the school. Also pictured is Darrell MacLean. (Healey photo)

WAVERLEY: The N.S. Fire School is looking at expanding it’s training ground, and are counting on the three levels of government for their support in doing so.

Recently, MLA Bill Horne and MP Darrell Samson were taken on a tour with Business Development Manager Darrell MacLean and Executive Director John Cunningham of their facilities and what their proposal is calling for. Councillor Steve Streatch was invited but had another commitment at city hall dealing with council items.

Darrell MacLean holds up the proposed expansion diagram under a photo of what the N.S. Fire School is like now as MP Darrell Samson and MLA Bill Horne pose alongside him. (Healey photo)

MacLean spoke to Horne and Samson about the fire compound and the variety of scenarios setup for firefighters from across the province to train on.

“Whether it is a federal/provincial agreement where we get $2 million a year for six years that will mallow us to rebuild the infrastructure that is required immediately,” said MacLean. “That rebuild will get all of the unions on board for coming to a new facility. It will get all of the volunteer fire stations on board to coming to a new facility.

“We all know everyone wants brand new brand new brand new. They want something different.”

The fire school is half a century old.

“We’re 50 years old, we’ve done an amazing job for the last 50, but we need to rebuild and look ahead for the next 50 years,” said MacLean.

The third step is to plan for the years of the service of the fire industry. Those are the three initiatives he sees as priorities for the fire school.

Samson agreed, however he said step two —getting an agreement of funding in place—is easier if step three was done.

“If step three was done, step two we would all throw in money to make it happen,” said Samson. “Without it and without the partnership step two is a problem.”

MacLean said everyone is waiting for the chain of command of yes’ from HRM, to the province, to the feds for investment dollars.

“I have nobody yet saying okay,” said MacLean.

The four check out the current scenario setup. (Healey photo)

Samson said it’s not easy for infrastructure projects to find their ways onto the Minister’s desk for approval given how vast Canada is.

“You can understand the complexity and why projects are very tough to get right through the system,” said Samson. “If we had discussions on possible changes to standards, it makes it easier I think.”

Since the tour, the Fire School has had some assistance from Conrad Brothers who donated their time and material to construct the base of their new true-to-life vehicle extrication training intersection. It consists of power lines; street signs; ditches; and obstructions for a realistic training experience.

Samson and Horne both agreed they will start working on making those in the know aware of the proposal and what was forthcoming.