New North Saanich fire hall approved

Volunteer fire department will get a new hall worth $1.5 million

North Saanich is getting an updated fire hall.

In front of a crowd of 13 volunteer and paid firefighters, North Saanich council gave the OK Monday to a budget of $1.68 million for a new facility.

Fire chief Gary Wilton said in his report the fire hall will include the necessary upgrades, including being seismically sound, but won’t have any extra bells and whistles in the interest of keeping costs down.

“We basically have the same hall we started with [in 1970] plus the upgrades in the mid-’80s,” said Capt. Greg Smith. He said the assistant chief’s office was once a broom closet and the trucks have a half inch clearance when rolling in and out of the current garage.

The new hall would include a vehicle building, a four storey-training tower and building connector, plus updates to the existing structure.

Previously, residents have opposed the height of the tower, given that North Saanich is a rural community.

Original estimates for the upgrade were $1.2 million in 2009. Today, the actual construction is budgeted at $1.48 million, plus financing, legal and contractors’ fees.

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