With community support, a full roster of volunteers, and now M.D. of Bonnyville approval, a firehall and volunteer fire department is going ahead for Cherry Grove.

M.D. council approved the site at Range Road 412 and Highway 55 at its January 9 meeting. The building will use the same design as the Ardmore firehall, which also has an M.D. grader shop attached.

The Cherry Grove firehall building will also include a grader shop.

M.D. Ward 6 councillor Ben Fadeyiw said council had narrowed the site location to two choices, the other one being at the Ag Society grounds. The Ag Society site had rights-of-way to consider, and the building would have encroached on the existing roadway. Council also thought activity on the grounds could potentially interfere with the firehall operation.

“We went with our first choice, which was over by Range Road 412 off highway 55,” Fadeyiw said. “Some of the grounds have been cleared already, and we’re going to be doing geo tech, finding out what’s underneath there.”

He expects a contractor will be named by the end of February. Training for the volunteer firefighters could begin as early as May and the volunteers should be ready to start operations when the firehall is ready in spring of 2025.

Fadeyiw said the project is more than a municipal service, it’s a community builder in its own right. 

“The Fire Chief needed about 25 people, and we got just a little bit over 50 people that signed up and said they were willing and able to help out in various ways,” he said.

“It is a community builder as well. It’s one of those things where you’ve got friends and neighbours that are out there helping other friends and neighbours, And it’s one of the key community builders that a person can ask for that is a win for everybody.”

An organizational meeting in October drew a full house and signed up about 50 volunteers. JEFF GAYE