Sidney’s new fire hall plans due in 2015

No price tag yet for proposed replacement hall on Seventh Street

Sidney’s current fire hall

While still at a conceptual stage, Sidney’s proposed new fire hall could be three storeys tall with four vehicle bays, accompanied by a single-storey, three-bay, B.C. Ambulance building nearby.

The Town of Sidney has engaged the services of architects Bradley Shuya and Ron Hoffart to design a new community safety building that would replace the existing fire hall on Third Street.

The plan being considered would see a new structure built on land owned by School District 63 (Saanich) next to Sidney Elementary School.

On Sept. 29, council received an update on the feasibility study that was set in motion earlier this year. The proposal thus far would see the main entrance to the new fire hall off of Seventh Street with a large front setback, drive-through access and a large training facility (including tower).

Sidney’s Director of Development Services Marlaina Elliott said the consultants have completed 70 per cent of their work on a draft report and will be coming back to the new council in 2015 with a public consultation plan.

Elliott stated in an email to the News Review that once the Town received approval from the school district to consider plans for the land, the feasibility study was started. The architects, she continued, have consulted with fire, ambulance and Town staff on their operational needs.

The municipality, she said, would have to purchase the land from the school district in order to build a new community safety building. The estimated cost of the land and price tag for the building itself is not known, said Elliott.

“The scope of the feasibility study does not include developing cost estimates for the construction of a community safety building,” she said.

Part of the study being done includes annualizing potential traffic impacts of located a new fire hall and ambulance station on Seventh Street. Elliott said a traffic engineer had identified options for improving traffic flow in the area and increasing safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Sidney’s Sept. 29 council minutes show those options to include narrow streets, bike lanes, extensive landscaping and street parking.

The plan so far also includes public amenities on the site, but as yet Elliott noted they are only conceptual at this point.

Council has requested staff to continue working with the consultants in developing a public consultation plan on the final feasibility study. That plan and further action on the proposed new community safety building will be in a new council’s hands after the Nov. 15 civic election and then not until early 2015.