Fire Hall Replacement

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The Fernie Fire and Emergency Services Department provides an essential service, ensuring the safety and well-being of the community. The first Fernie Fire Department was established in 1904 with a contingent of 100% volunteer members. Since that time, the department has grown to include over 40 paid on call members, a full time Fire Chief, a Deputy Chief, and eight full-time career firefighters. The current Fernie Fire & Emergency Services Department (FFESD) responds to over 400 emergency calls per year and serves over 10,000 residents in the City of Fernie and surrounding areas.

Background

From 1979 to 2022 the Fire and Emergency Services department operated out of fire hall located at 692 3rd Ave. The building, originally designed in 1970 as a automotive service garage, was decommissioned due to significant issues with the facility structure and function and the inability of the site and structure to meet current requirements for a fire hall. The Fire Department has been temporarily relocated to operate out of the City's old Public Works office, adjacent to the Operations Facility at 1492b Railway Ave. A leased Atco trailer is onsite to house turnout gear, and the Operations Facility is utilized for fleet storage. As such, the City of Fernie is now looking to select a site for a new multi-generational fire hall to serve the community for the next 50+ years and is considering partnership with other users to maximize the community benefit of the site.

How to Get Involved

Previous site selection studies have been completed however, this is the first time the City has put out a public call for partners, and provided an opportunity for public input, to ensure a transparent and inclusive analysis of all current opportunities.

The planning process to select the new site for the fire hall has offered multiple opportunities for community involvement:

  • Consider submitting an Expression of Interest if you have a proposal for a potential partnership. We are looking to explore any opportunities for facility co-use partnerships, or potential private sites for the fire hall. CLOSED August 25, 2023.
  • Volunteer to be a part of the Community Working Group (CWG) that is being formed to provide guidance to the City's Project Team. We're looking for diverse community voices to form this group, check out the Volunteer Opportunity to see if you would be a good fit! CLOSED August 11, 2023.
  • Participate in a Public Open House on October 26 from 6-8pm at the Senior Citizen's Drop-In Centre.
  • Provide your feedback online by completing an Engagement Survey. CLOSED midnight November 6, 2023.

Check back here for opportunities to participate in the process.

The Fernie Fire and Emergency Services Department provides an essential service, ensuring the safety and well-being of the community. The first Fernie Fire Department was established in 1904 with a contingent of 100% volunteer members. Since that time, the department has grown to include over 40 paid on call members, a full time Fire Chief, a Deputy Chief, and eight full-time career firefighters. The current Fernie Fire & Emergency Services Department (FFESD) responds to over 400 emergency calls per year and serves over 10,000 residents in the City of Fernie and surrounding areas.

Background

From 1979 to 2022 the Fire and Emergency Services department operated out of fire hall located at 692 3rd Ave. The building, originally designed in 1970 as a automotive service garage, was decommissioned due to significant issues with the facility structure and function and the inability of the site and structure to meet current requirements for a fire hall. The Fire Department has been temporarily relocated to operate out of the City's old Public Works office, adjacent to the Operations Facility at 1492b Railway Ave. A leased Atco trailer is onsite to house turnout gear, and the Operations Facility is utilized for fleet storage. As such, the City of Fernie is now looking to select a site for a new multi-generational fire hall to serve the community for the next 50+ years and is considering partnership with other users to maximize the community benefit of the site.

How to Get Involved

Previous site selection studies have been completed however, this is the first time the City has put out a public call for partners, and provided an opportunity for public input, to ensure a transparent and inclusive analysis of all current opportunities.

The planning process to select the new site for the fire hall has offered multiple opportunities for community involvement:

  • Consider submitting an Expression of Interest if you have a proposal for a potential partnership. We are looking to explore any opportunities for facility co-use partnerships, or potential private sites for the fire hall. CLOSED August 25, 2023.
  • Volunteer to be a part of the Community Working Group (CWG) that is being formed to provide guidance to the City's Project Team. We're looking for diverse community voices to form this group, check out the Volunteer Opportunity to see if you would be a good fit! CLOSED August 11, 2023.
  • Participate in a Public Open House on October 26 from 6-8pm at the Senior Citizen's Drop-In Centre.
  • Provide your feedback online by completing an Engagement Survey. CLOSED midnight November 6, 2023.

Check back here for opportunities to participate in the process.

  • New Fire Hall Site Selected

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    On January 23rd at the Regular Council Meeting, Council selected 1500 5th Ave (a portion of Prentice Park) as the site for the City's replacement Fire Hall. This site was chosen as the preferred location as it provides a number of advantages including opportunities for co-use partnerships, adaptability for further growth, and a flexible site layout.

    Watch a recording of the January 23 Council Meeting and listen to Council's decision.

    Read more about the future location of the Fire Hall in the January 23 Report to Council: RFD Fire Hall Site Selection

    Next phases of the project will include detailed site testing, facility concept design, project costing, and exploration of co-use partnerships as we work towards a new operational Fire Hall in 2026.

  • Fire Hall Site Selection

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    At the Regular Council Meeting on January 23, 2024, Council will consider selecting a site to be the home of a new Fire Hall for the City’s Fire and Emergency Services Department.

    After an extensive site selection process as part of the pre-planning phase of the Fire Hall Replacement project, a portion of Prentice Park (1500 5th Ave) is being presented as the recommended site option for the new Fire Hall.

    Report to Council: RFD Fire Hall Site Selection

    In 2022, the old Fire Hall at 692 3rd Ave was decommissioned due to significant issues with the facility structure and function and the inability of the site and structure to meet current requirements for a fire hall. At that time, FFESD relocated to operate out of the City's old Public Works office, adjacent to the Operations Facility at 1492b Railway Ave and a project was initiated to select a new site for constructing a purpose-built fire hall to serve the community for the next 50+ years.

    Working with the consulting firm, Arcadis Architects Inc. (Arcadis), staff conducted an extensive planning study, including stakeholder and public engagement. This study included a review of FFESD operating requirements, a determination of the fundamental criteria for selecting a suitable site to build an efficient fire hall within the intended timeline, and a set of requirements to analyze those sites that met the fundamental criteria.

    All City-owned land was considered through the process. Additionally, a formal request for expressions of interest (REOI) to identify potential site partners and co-uses was issued, and direct outreach was undertaken to develop awareness of the EOI. While this provided a number of potential co-users and co-uses that could complement a functional fire hall, the two potential sites that were put forward did not meet the fundamental criteria identified through the initial planning work. This process led to the identification of two suitable City-owned sites for further analysis: Site 1: 902 2nd Avenue and Site 2: 1500 5th Avenue.

    Test fits were conducted for both finalist sites and the results put through a site evaluation matrix that considered the evaluating criteria determined through the stakeholder engagement and regulatory requirements for a fire hall. Site 2 (1500 5th Ave) is the recommended site for the replacement Fire Hall for both its technical advantages and the flexibility of the site to accommodate co-uses and future growth. It emerged as the preferred site for both the FFESD and City internal business units, and was the recommended site by the Community Working Group.

    Benefits of the site include: it meets standard NFPA and FUS response requirements, has a larger site area and less setback constraints, a shorter distance to Hwy 3 than Site 1, and no known site contamination issues. The biggest advantage to the Prentice Park site is the flexibility that the larger site provides for site layout, future expansion beyond the anticipated 15% growth rate, and the independent development of a co-use that doesn’t affect the aggressive project timeline.

    Read the full Fire Hall Replacement Project Technical Report.

    Once Council has selected a site for the new Fire Hall, the City’s project team will work with Arcadis to advance the next phases of pre-planning including costing, detailed site testing and remediation where required, and the finalization of a funding strategy within a workable timeline to obtain approval of the electors for any required borrowing to meet the timeline for a new operational Fire Hall in 2026.

Page last updated: 26 Jan 2024, 03:01 PM