Inwood fire hall sold; association to set up scholarships

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Heather Wright/The Independent

The Inwood Firemens’ Association plans to set up a scholarship and community grant fund after selling the former Inwood fire hall.
The hall, which until 2020 was home to the Inwood fire department and a community hall, was sold this week to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed amount of money, according to firemens’ association president Brian Podolinsky. The deal is closes at the end of the month.
The hall had become a point of contention between the association and the Municipality of Brooke-Alvinston. In 2019, the municipality wanted to work out a new lease with the association even though the majority of firefighters at the hall had resigned a year earlier. Without a deal, the municipally removed the trucks Jan. 1.
Recently, council agreed with a consultants report which said a fire presence in Inwood wasn’t necessary at this time, and put tentative plans to build a new hall in the community on hold.
Recently, Councillor Jamie Armstrong urged council to consult with the people of Inwood to see if they still needed a community hall. At the Sept. 24 meeting, councillors agreed a survey on the issue.
The questions include whether the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre in Alvinston serves Inwood, whether people would use rooms in the local library for small meetings, whether the municipality should fund a new hall and if people are willing to pay more taxes for it.
The survey also points out that the BIACCC is not booked to capacity and in 2019, cost the municipality $321,537 to run.
Podolinsky says people in Inwood have expressed disappointment that there would no longer be a spot for weddings and stag and does in Inwood. And he says, from a business standpoint, the idea of another hall doesn’t make sense when Inwood had a hall which the municipality only leased. Podolinsky say the taxes the firemens’ association paid and the fees the municipality used to receive from Dawn-Euphemia and Enniskillen for Inwood fire coverage would have paid that $20,000 lease.
“It’s too bad but it is what it is,” he says. “If you can’t work with your municipality, you can’t do anything about it.”
Podolinsky adds Brooke-Alvinston did offer to buy the hall – for a dollar. That offer was refused.
The association now plans to set up a special fund with the money raised from the sale of the building. Podolinsky says a new committee will provide $10,000 in scholarships each year for one or two students and community grants to organizations.
Podolinsky says that fund could make an impact in the community for 15 to 25 years. “Hopefully the name (of the Inwood Firemens’ Association) can live on a little longer.”