New hall but still no fire chief in Minden Hills
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | May 31, 2018
Minden’s new fire hall is a paving job away from completion, but the search for a new fire chief continues.
The Township of Minden Hills is re-advertising the position, temporarily being filled by interim fire chief Mike Bekking after longtime head Doug Schell finished up last Oct. 6. Mayor Brent Devolin told The Highlander in an interview, “we cast the net and had some good candidates and got down to one. We did our due diligence but it didn’t shake out to our satisfaction so it’s time to cast the net again.”
Despite that, Devolin said they are fortunate that Bekking is remaining onboard until the township can find a full-time replacement.
“We’re in the enviable position that our training officer and interim fire chief comes from decades of experience with the Markham Fire Department. He went through, from a volunteer to the size of the force it is today, and, obviously he’s hanging around.
“So, we want to get this right.”
Devolin added that the township expects to get a call any day now saying that the asphalt company is coming to pave the parking lot at the recently completed building on Highway 35. At that time, the project will be considered complete and staff and equipment moved in. The mayor said it makes sense for the hall to be done before bringing in a new hire, so “they’re not trying to come into a new job, and a new circumstance and finish up a large capital project.
“So, there were a bunch of reasons why we decided to recast the net again.” Devolin expects they’ll have a grand opening date for the new hall in the very near future.
Schell left the township for a job with Haliburton Highlands Health Services in the fall, after being with the municipality for 28 years. He was part of the team that designed the new hall that has been built by Greystone Construction Ltd. of Huntsville. Ground was broken in July on the hall. It was marred by a roof truss collapse in November that sent two workers to hospital. The near $2-million project will replace the existing fire hall on Prince Street in downtown Minden which opened in the 1970s and sustained flood damage four years ago.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.