Sidney fire hall sites to be whittled down to two

Consultant to pare down community safety building site choices.

It will be a month at least before a consultant determines the next best sites for a proposed community safety building in Sidney.

Mayor Steve Price says the municipality has re-engaged the services of Bradley Shuya Architects lnc. to review six properties. The Town is proposing a large community safety building to replace its existing fire hall and include the BC Ambulance Service and other emergency response programs.

The consultant did the initial review last year that led to the Town’s first choice of three acres of land next to Sidney Elementary School. In February, the board of trustees of School District 63 (Saanich) voted to not pursue any land deal with Sidney. They cited a negative impact on students — and public outcry against the location — as the main reason for not proceeding with a land deal.

Price said the Town is not back at square one — they have a proposed building plan in hand — they just need an ideal spot.

“It will take at least a month for the consultant to pare down the choices to two sites,” Price said. “In that time, we will be receiving information on the chosen properties.”

Councillors are meeting in-camera to discuss the potential land use. Price said he expects the two choices to be made public and debated openly.

The municipality wants to replace its fire hall, which was built in 1989. The hall no longer meets current earthquake safety standards and was designed for a population of 5,000. As Sidney has grown to more than 11,000 people, the fire department has expanded as well. Renovation of the existing building was considered but was ruled out as the property is too small.

The remaining six sites are:

• proposed Victoria Airport Authority Site

• 2114 Beacon Avenue West

• 2180 Beacon Avenue West

• Iroquois Park

• south Memorial Park Society lands and skateboard park

• Ministry of Transportation Lands (south of Public Works Yard).

Even if a site is selected this spring, seeking funding sources would be the next step and construction of the building would not begin until next year at the earliest. The Town’s 2015-2019 financial plan does not list the community safety building among its capital projects over that time period.