On June 22nd, the community of Bonnyville celebrated the grand opening of phase two of the Bonnyville Fire Training Centre, supported largely in-part by a $20,000 in-kind donation by MEG Energy. MEG’s contribution of $20,000 in steel played an essential role in the construction of the new phase of the Centre.
The remnant steel, originally used in the construction of Phase 1 and 2 at MEG’s Christina Lake Project, was destined for recycling, when MEG staff member and volunteer firefighter at the Bonnyville Fire Department, Jeremy Ryan suggested another use.
“Typically, MEG recycles or repurposes all of the scrap steel used in our operations. When I saw the extra steel available, I inquired to the possibility of donating it to the Fire School. It would be a shame to see this go to recycling when the Fire School needed to purchase the exact same materials,” says Ryan.
Ryan’s suggestion received a warm reception. “Community investment often involves financial contributions, but that isn't the whole picture. Volunteer time from our employees is just as important and when you combine that with practical and creative ideas such as Jeremy's vision for a few tonnes of steel, we get behind that too," says Consultation and Community Relations Manager Rory O’Connor.
Ryan was not only responsible for the suggestion of the donation, he also oversaw the transportation of the materials to the construction site. “Jeremy personally hauled three loads of steel from MEG’s Christina Lake site to the Bonnyville Fire Training Centre. This kind of commitment is another great example of how MEG employees truly care about making an impact in the communities they live in. We are happy to support his initiative – it’s a win-win situation for all of us,” says O’Connor.
Ryan and hundreds of other Bonnyville and surrounding area firefighters will benefit greatly from the multi-phase training centre. The centre allows firefighters to train at a more convenient schedule and at a significantly lower cost. It also provides firefighters with an opportunity to train in live situations allowing them to gain critical hands-on experience in a controlled environment, better preparing them for uncontrolled situations in real life.
“Any time firefighters can train in live fire situations that are controlled and safe, it makes them a better firefighter. This gives them the real experience and the real appreciation for the job they’re doing with minimum risk,” says Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority Chief Brian McEnvoy. “The generous contribution of materials from MEG Energy will be used to develop industrial fire training props which will assist us in maintaining a high level of response capability to the Bonnyville and surrounding area.”