Sidney eyes school site for new fire hall

Town exploring chances of building a new hall near Sidney Elementary.

Working with staff from School District 63, the Town of Sidney will investigate the possibility of building a new fire hall on a portion of the Sidney Elementary School site.

Sidney council had been discussing the plan in-camera and made the proposal public at their Nov. 25 regular meeting. They have directed town staff to develop the terms of reference for a feasibility study, consulting with the school district and complying with conditions set out by the school board, as well as setting out a full public consultation process.

“Council has been looking for a number of years for a new site for our fire hall,” said Mayor Larry Cross.

He added the Town must do its due diligence and explore this option.

The current fire hall is located in downtown Sidney and requires significant upgrades to make it more earthquake-proof.

Cross noted the current hall is not in danger of closing at all, but the matter of building a new facility, with upgrades to its disaster survivability and additional features for the firefighters, has been in the council’s long-term strategic plan for years.

“At this point we are doing the due diligence,” Cross added.

Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble said with the land potentially being available from the school district, the Town wants to explore its options.

“We have to ask what practical sites are there (for a fire hall) in Sidney,” Humble said. “That is the question.”

As part of a feasibility study that will commence soon, Humble said staff will consider issues such as cost, noise, traffic, combining fire and ambulance services and safety in potentially locating a new fire hall next to a school. The process will be public, he added, and will work closely with conditions set out by the school district.

Board chair of School District 63, Wayne Hunter, said there is a large parcel of land at Sidney Elementary which could be considered for such a project. However, locating it next to the school means they need some assurances.

Those include: retaining a school district-approved design professional, master planner and traffic consultant; studying traffic conflicts and how to mitigate them; reviewing accident rates at current school sites near fire halls in the region; organizing a public participation process, and other details.

Hunter added any consideration of the project would have to include maintaining a buffer should the school district choose to replace Sidney Elementary.

As for the cost of the land, Hunter said only that capital is important to the district, as they aren’t holding out a lot of hope for provincial government investment any time soon.

That cost would be rolled into a total for the fire hall project through the Town’s feasibility study. Humble said it’s too early to put a price tag on it right now.

Cross added people should expect this study and any further new fire hall planning to be done over the long-term, with plenty of community engagement.

Just Posted

More Peninsula councillors declare their 2018 intentions

Carl Jensen and Chris Graham, both of Central Saanich, have said they will run again.

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Most Read