Champlain voters have approved a referendum on renovating and expanding the town’s fire station. It was built in 1986, and one of the commissioners of the Champlain Fire District says it was originally intended to have a 30-year lifespan…meaning, it should have been replaced by now.
“It’s got some issues — plumbing, electrical, structural, floor,” Michael Tetreault, Jr. said. “The equipment has changed; the apparatus has changed. A lot has changed for fire services since ’86.”
In fact, voters rejected a similar ballot measure three years ago. The fire station isn’t only showing its age; it’s also run out of room. The district simply doesn’t have enough space inside it to do some of what New York state requires it to do.
“We have no haz-mat containment areas, no decontamination rooms,” Tetreault said. “There’s a new cancer push with the fire companies, and the state mandates — they want you to handle this stuff. The firemen come in; they need to clean off their gear so they’re not transporting the carcinogens back to their home.”
The project will cost $4.5 million. The fire district is spending $650,000 that it’s saved up. Taxpayers will have to cover the rest of the price tag through a 25-year bond.
“I, for one, don’t like my taxes to go up, but there are some necessary evils in the world and I do believe the fire district provides a very important service for the people in this area and surrounding areas,” Tetreault said.
The project now enters the design phase. Construction is expected to start next spring, and the new fire station should be ready for use by the end of next year.