Courtenay council approved Monday $150,000 for the design and costing phase of the proposed fire hall project on the east side of town.
Last year before the election, the previous council voted unanimously to proceed with a new satellite fire hall and training ground east of the Courtenay River. Construction of the training ground is underway.
Early this month, the new council had deferred the $150,000 pending further information about the need for a satellite hall — as well as the impact of not constructing the facility. During the election campaign, Coun. Erik Eriksson said residents requested a second look at the project.
Among other benefits, a new station would improve response times to East Courtenay and areas north of the city, according to a staff report. Vulnerability and higher insurance rates for commercial properties are some of the risks of not building a station.
Construction of the hall is estimated at about $5.5 million on the high end. Funding would need to be sourced from new borrowing.
Council approved a $25,800 request from the Project Watershed Society and in-kind support valued at $3,500 to contribute to the group’s Airpark Lagoon Breach Project. For five years, Project Watershed has been working with the City to install a fish-friendly culvert that would breach the lagoon dike on the Courtenay River side.
Coun. Doug Hillian considers the initiative to be a “worthwhile and valuable project.”
The estimate for the project is $280,800, about half of which is being secured. The remainder is pending granting adjudication processes.
Council approved a Hillian resolution to support in principle an initiative from Project Watershed and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to restore the former Fields Sawmill site to a natural state.
The resolution also calls for a council appointee to liaise with the initiative.
Eriksson noted the loss of jobs when the mill closed in 2005, leaving a “pile of cement” at the site near the 17th Street Bridge.
“I think they (company) should be willing to give something back,” he said.