Gabarus builds itself a new fire hall

A Nova Scotia community in need of a new fire hall is building the facility itself.

Cape Breton community of 75 turning old hall into community centre

Gabarus residents plan to use the old fire hall (far left) as a community centre when the new one is complete. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia community in need of a new fire hall is building the facility itself.

Gabarus in Cape Breton has been fundraising to build a new hall and now community members and firefighters are constructing it.

Work began a few weeks ago. Timi White, a volunteer firefighter, said they have been able to get the building up and weather-tight for the winter. The old fire hall will become a community centre.

"All of the major structural carpentry is done. The roof is done, the windows and doors are installed and some internal work is done," he said Sunday.

He added the community had to pull the trucks out and mop the garage floor to hold events in the past.

"We don't have to do that anymore and we can focus on having a nice, welcoming community centre that provides activities for people in the area and acts as a gathering place and celebratory place for different community events," he said.

Community also needs seawall repaired

Jackelyn Holmes, another volunteer firefighter, said it made her proud of her village.

"It's pretty incredible for such a small community. We only have about 75 people living here," she said.

Tim Menk moved to Gabarus two years ago. He is helping build the fire hall and has also led an effort to rebuild the community's aging seawall.

The seawall is at risk of collapsing, he said, and he's hoping the federal government will help repair it. He said the fire hall shows the community believes in its long-term future.

"As dire as the consequences will be if the seawall isn't fixed in time, we know that in our hearts we love this community and it's got a future. We're making a commitment to that future here with our own labour," he said.

White said they have completed the first phase and will break for the winter. They'll use the downtime to continue fundraising efforts to complete the project in the spring.

The money has been raised through community events and government funding.