The shiny new, four-bay fire hall along Highway 83 at Miniota was officially declared open for service last weekend. At the southern entrance to town, it marks Miniota as a thriving community.
Fire Chief Nick Young, emcee for the event, said, “It’s been quite a process… but it’s here and we enjoy it. I think it makes a statement about our small town… the first thing you’re going to see is the brand new fire hall. To me that speaks volumes for the community and what direction we are heading.”
The new building replaces a much smaller two-bay building. The build was budgeted at $1 million. Final totals are not in yet, but expected to be about $900,000, all accomplished without any large donations says Young.
Prairie View Reeve Linda Clark said that in 2015 the Municipality of Prairie View council agreed that a new fire hall was needed at Miniota.
“When the new fire truck arrived and wouldn’t fit into the old building, it was decided that something needed to happen, and so we began.”
At the Grand Opening ceremony, Saturday, Oct. 26, the crowd of about 200 included past and present firefighters, MLA Greg Nesbitt and MP Dan Mazier, municipal reeves and visiting fire chiefs.
Wallace District Fire Department Chief Brad Yochim addressed the Grand Opening, “Congratulations on this gorgeous building. To say that I am jealous is an understatement. We are also [planning] a building for Virden.”
He noted that this year, eight new fire halls have been built in Manitoba. “It’s unprecedented. Usually we don’t see any fire stations being built. But councils are realizing these buildings are essential… to do our job effectively.”
Clark said this an accomplishment for “a small town.” She said, “Prairie View Municipality is very fortunate to have two dedicated fire departments.”
The former RM of Miniota reserved money for the project. Clark said, “This was largely made possible from the reserves of the former Miniota Municipality and I am pleased to report that the committee was able to bring this building in under budget.”
She acknowledged the work of Fire Hall Committee Chairman Lyle Salmon who saw the project through to the end despite his retirement from Council last fall (2018). Committee members included Councillors Darcy Oliver, David Howard and Delbert Cole; Fire Chief Nick Young and Fire Member Ryan Brown. Project Manager was Murray Donald. Clark also credited the work of CAO Charlene Bonchuk and executive assistant Carol Bonner.
Salmon explained the building process took place over a two-and-a-half-year period, from the striking of the fire hall committee in January 2017, to the finishing touches by volunteer firefighters which included interior finishing, two new flag poles and the placing of the historic fire bell in front of the new building.
Noon lunch was provided by Fusion Credit Union. Donations were designated to STARS air ambulance service which had recently held a training session with Miniota Fire Department.