OUR VIEW: Sidney fire hall site is a winner

We urge residents to check out the proposal, have a say and help determine what this very visible building could look like.

Sidney’s proposed site for a community safety building south of the Mary Winspear Centre appears to be the best solution.

On Wednesday, the municipality announced its tentative deal with the Memorial Park Society to lease land where the skateboard park exists today. There, they hope to build a multi-million dollar fire hall that will include training space, an ambulance station and other emergency services facilities.

It’s not near a school and plans for the area would seem to lend itself well to this use. Yes, there is a residential area nearby, but of all the options available to the Town, this has the least overall impact on its neighbours.

Where taxpayers may feel that impact more, is in the wallet.

Sidney will have to borrow money to pay for the facility and early estimates put the price tag at $7 or $8 million — comparable to the recently-completed community safety building in View Royal. The dollars will vary, of course, depending on the needs of the community and how it’s going to be made to look. Mayor Steve Price says he feels this will be an iconic structure in Sidney — so it’s got to look good from the Pat Bay Highway.

That kind of thinking costs money and the aesthetics of the proposed structure will be on the table during public consultation this year. If the look of the building is important, people will certainly speak up.

Just be prepared for the corresponding cost.

The site is also earmarked by the Town for a large, overflow parking lot. A fire hall there would work to break up any ‘paved-over’ atmosphere — so that’s another tick in the plan’s favour.

Residents are going to have a say in the outcome of the design planning this year and that, too, will help determine the final tally for this project.

Both the municipality and Mary Winspear Centre appear bullish on this plan and we agree there are some long-term benefits to both parties in this idea.

We urge residents to check out the proposal, have a say and help determine what this very visible building could look like.