Starland County building clean-up continues

A backhoe demolishes the remainder of the Starland County building on Mainstreet in Morrin, Ab. on Wed. Mar. 7 and Thurs. Mar. 8, 2019. ECA Review/Submitted

An awarded contract has allowed for further breakdown and removal of the once standing Starland County building in Morrin, Ab. on Wed. Mar. 7.

Administration hopes to start reconstruction of a new office in the village as soon as this summer.

On May 25, 2018, at approximately 4:30 a.m., the County building became engulfed in flames, rendering the facility a write-off in terms of insurance and usage.

The east side took the most damage as fire crews used backhoes and trackhoes to lift the roof in an attempt to stop the fire by constantly feeding water into the structure.

The west side, which did not fall, sustained serious smoke damage among other issues so it was determined the entire building would be demolished.

Morrin, Munson, Rumsey and Drumheller Fire Departments responded as well as RCMP and EMS, all of which did not leave the scene until late in the evening.

For now, ATCO has lent some mobile units that have been transformed to fit the needs of the County so they can continue running.

“It’s been pretty good,” said Matthew Kreke, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Starland County. “They [ATCO] were pretty good about setting it up real quick and giving us a spot to move in. We prefer to be in Morrin.”

Shortly before the fire, the County was making plans to construct a new public works facility that currently sits at the north end of the village.

The County is now pivoting and taking advantage of the misfortune by allocating their funds towards an entirely new building or buildings that will hold space for both public works and administration.

“We’re going to be using the money to build a new location,” continued Kreke. “We made the decision not to rebuild. It was pretty expensive to rebuild and we were already in planning to build a new public works shop on the north end of town. We figured we could save a bit of money and combine the buildings.”

Their Request for Proposal document is out so possible submissions can be sent in until March 22, at which point a committee will check the submissions, conduct interviews and hand over the final decision to council.

This will be decided by April this year.

“We’re hoping to get shovels in the ground this summer,” he said.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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