District of Squamish will spend $5.6 million to build a new fire hall in the next two years.
The new fire hall will replace the existing Tantalus fire hall, although it won’t be built at that location. Meanwhile, the district plans to eventually demolish the existing fire hall.
The district has included $600,000 in the 2019 budget for the design and assessment of the new fire hall. Pending budget approval, work in 2019 will determine design specifications and location, said Mayor Karen Elliott.
Elliott said the proposed 2019 budget designates the Tantalus Fire Hall as one of ‘first priorities’ for replacement.
She said over the next few years, council will be looking closely at taking care of all built assets, including Brennan Park Recreation Centre, the Public Works Yard and Municipal Hall.
The district is looking at suitable location for building the new fire hall. There are only limited that suitable to locate the fire hall without leaving parts of the community vulnerable, Elliot said.
“We need to ensure that current coverage is maintained, limiting possible location options. We will also be factoring in disaster-resiliency i.e. how resilient a location is to natural hazards, as we work to finalize the location,” she noted.
The new fire facility would improve many aspects of the Fire Department’s operations, she said.
There would be more room for expansion, better and gender appropriate change facilities, decontamination space and laundry facilities for turnout gear (fire fighter’s basic protective suits), better storage for equipment, and appropriate indoor storage for all fire department trucks, and administrative offices that are accessible to those with disabilities.
The existing Fire Hall was built in 1978, and the district recently completed some reinforcement work although it was a temporary measure.