After a season of delays, work has finally begun to renovate an old cardboard box plant into a fire hall and public works facility in Plum Coulee. The highly anticipated project was put on hold in early 2022 when tenders came back nearly three times the estimated cost. A revised renovation plan has since been finalized with a new budget.
At the end of last week, a concrete floor was poured on the public works side.
"The cement floor on the public works side had a bit of a bulge in it and it was pushing water against the north side, so we had to chop it out and that's been done," explained Reeve Don Wiebe.
Meantime, members of the Plum Coulee Fire Department have volunteered to help get things moving on their side of the building by building a separation wall between the two sides. Wiebe says that work is starting. They have also begun to do some cleanup inside.
"This is high time. We're starting to see progress," added Wiebe. "We're looking forward to moving everyone into that building and using it."
Additionally, members of the fire department will be modifying the floor on the fire hall side in order to accommodate the fire trucks.
Contractors are also being lined up to bring the north wall of the building up to code, and Wiebe expects designs for an addition on the east side to come in shortly.
"We had intended to build a mezzanine floor and use it for the fire department's training, meeting space, office, and those kinds of activities. But that prompted all kinds of changes in the heating system and to code requirements, and it got very very complicated. By taking that concept out of the building and making it an addition, it was a lot cheaper."
While he didn't have a firm timeline of when the building would be ready, Wiebe took a wild guess and aimed for late spring/early summer.
"Once the concrete is in and cured, we can start using it as a public works building, that should be a bit sooner," he said.
The entire project is pegged at $800,000.