Plan to build fire hall and training centre in Courtenay proceeding

Courtenay council has approved moving forward with plans for an East Courtenay Fire Hall and Training Centre that could cost $9.6 million.

Courtenay council approved Monday moving forward with plans for an East Courtenay Fire Hall and Training Centre — which could cost $9.6 million in total.

The fire hall and training centre would be located at 220 Waters Pl., in a lot to the north of Home Depot behind the BC Hydro substation at Lerwick Road and Waters Place.

The land was acquired by the City for this purpose in 2005, but the project has been bumped back in the City’s financial plan in an effort to coincide the new fire hall and training centre with the completion of the new Comox Valley Hospital. The new Comox Valley Hospital is slated for land across Lerwick Road from the fire hall and training site, at the intersection of Ryan and Lerwick Roads.

According to a report to council from City director of financial services Tillie Manthey, Courtenay has grown considerably over the past 10 years, with the east side expected to continue growing, as well as the west and south.

“With development anticipated to continue, the current fire hall will have an increased frequency of responses to deal with,” said Manthey in her report. “It is appropriate to move forward over the next five years with definitive plans for the provision of fire protection services in east Courtenay.”

The project, which is expected to begin next year and reach completion in 2015, is estimated to cost about $9.6 million in total — about $2 million more than what is listed in the City’s five-year financial plan.

According to the report, there would be some capital funding from the City’s own sources but the City would have to borrow substantially to fund the project.

However, the cost of the project will vary depending on the inclusion of the Comox Valley Emergency Program and Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue, which has space slated in this plan totalling over $1.7 million.

Part of the motion passed by council includes discussing whether the two groups will use the space.

Blair Pettis of Fletcher Pettis Consultants Ltd. presented an overview of the project and he noted the City could lease space to the emergency groups.

Grubbing and clearing of the land is set to start in 2013. The training centre would be completed in 2014 and feature a drive around training area where trainees could practise putting out vehicle fires for example. It would also feature a burn building.

The fire hall would cost just over $6.5 million and be constructed in 2015. It would feature a two-bedroom apartment enabling firefighters to stay on-site at all times and enhance fire protection. A training room on the second floor could double as an emergency operation centre in the event of a disaster.

Pettis noted the plans have room for further expansion.

The plans will be further refined and meetings will be held with potential user groups.