A vacant firehall in The Town of Olds will have new life breathed into it after the town's council announced that it will be converted into space for three community organizations. The firehall will house the Mountain View Food Bank, the Olds and District Hospice Society, and the Community Lending Shelf.

The decision came after Olds Town Council directed administration to negotiate a long-term lease where the Town will retain ownership of the building with the organizations assuming responsibility for operations and maintenance. 

During the April 22 meeting, the Town of Olds Chief Administrative Officer, Brent Williams stated that at the end of 2023 and into 2024, a test fit study was being done to determine if the firehall property could be repurposed into a community-centred facility.

"This proposal, even though the final terms have to be negotiated by administration, is to lease the former fire hall property for a nominal sum of $1 per year and essentially transfer its operations under a shared agreement between these three groups," he said. "The value of this proposal is significant [in] that it provides much more usable homes to three in-need organizations to serve, but it also allows us to repurpose this old building."

Williams added that one of the groups would be moving into the space by the end of September. 

Mayor Judy Dahl said that the project supports local organizations but also allows the Town to revitalize an unused space.

According to the Town of Olds, the former fire hall was vacated in 2021 following the construction of the town Operations Centre.

"Efforts to sell the former fire hall were unsuccessful, largely owing to underground environmental liabilities and zoning changes that made the building unsuitable for common industrial uses, like a mechanic or auto body shop."

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