Fire Hall Site Selection

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.

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