SHERBROOKE – Close to 200 residents, joined by MP Sean Fraser and other special guests, came out to celebrate the official opening of the new Sherbrooke and Area Fire Hall on Saturday.
The four-bay fire hall, with a price tag of just over half a million dollars, became a reality in part due to a very successful community fundraising campaign, called "Ladder Up."
Building committee chair Ed Weir told The Journal that as of last week, $102,000 of the $125,000 goal had been raised -- before the contents of the event's donation jar were counted.
The fire hall was built from the frame of the old Industrial Arts Shop and Bus Garage for the former St. Mary's High School.
"We gutted it," said Weir. The fire department put a new roof on it and then got to work with new insulation, siding, wiring, plumbing etc.
Weir said the local volunteer firefighters are "pretty proud" of the new facility, which in addition to space for five trucks, has a community room for meetings and training.
The new hall is 96’ x 40’; the truck bay is 65’ x 40’ and the community room is 20’ X 40, seating approximately 70 people and featuring a kitchenette at one end. Above the office and bathrooms is a storage area.
Financing was also provided by the federal government through ACOA, and the fire department itself. At the opening ceremony, the department presented an award of appreciation to John Cameron for his fundraising support.
Weir said the fundraising campaign started back in late spring 2015. ACOA money was announced last Feb., after which engineering work got underway. Construction started Aug. 1, 2017 and the fire department moved in March 24.
St. Mary's Warden Michael Mosher said he was pleased to see the strong support continuing for the fire hall, with such a large turnout on Saturday.
"Local support for the Ladder Up campaign was tremendous," he said.