The Dashwood Fire Department is looking at building a new firehall, at an estimated cost of $4 million.
Detailed conceptual plans have now been completed and to fund construction, the Regional District of Nanaimo will need to borrow money. Before that can happen, the district will seek the endorsement of the community.
Staff recommended the board initiate an alternative approval process to gauge whether electors would approve a service and local authorization bylaw.
The firehall was constructed in 1985 and it has undergone some upgrades that included the addition of a third bay.
In 2012, a seismic assessment was conducted and detailed the potential risks, upgrade solution and estimated retrofit costs. Construction options to either retrofit or replace the hall with a completely new building were included in the report. Costs to retrofit and renovate the hall to meet building code requirements and add additional space were estimated above the costs of replacement.
The design for the firehall will be used as a template that the RDN plans to use in building others under its jurisdiction in the future. This was endorsed by the RDN board in June 2018.
In developing a standardized design, the regional district collaborated with fire chiefs during regional meetings. Main firehall and satellite firehall design requirements and framework were developed to reduce architectural and engineering costs for future projects. Zeigler Architecture and Praxis developed the conceptual design plan and it was presented to the Dashwood Fire Department Board Committee in September 2018.
The design includes: Two drive-through bays that can hold a total of four pieces of apparatus; designed to permit for future expansion of one additional bay that can hold two more pieces of apparatus; an administration area and three offices; separate areas for radio communications, IT, mechanical, electrical, sprinkler, gear, storage, training, and laundry; two multi-use washrooms and washdown space; a workshop; a self-contained breathing apparatus and compressor room; access to a second floor that will be pre-wired and plumbed for future completion (kitchen, fitness, washroom/shower, laundry and possible sleeping quarters); and an engineered pad for a future training/hose drying tower.
The proposed design will be pre-wired and plumbed for future energy saving opportunities (solar water and heat recovery systems). The design allows for future expansion.