Nanoose Bay fire hall being replaced

Dealing with additional asbestos added time to the completion of the project

The northwest view of the new Nanoose Bay fire hall

The northwest view of the new Nanoose Bay fire hall

Construction of a new fire hall in Nanoose Bay is well underway and so far there have only been some minor setbacks as the building progresses.

Work on the $3 million facility started in September but not before the aging building was demolished.

Nancy Avery, General Manager of Finance and Information Services at the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) said early in the project they encountered some unexpected work. She said they knew there was some asbestos to be removed from the aging hall but upon further investigation they found even more of the toxic material.

“The general contractor had a company do a bit more work removing the material before we hit it and brought it to the ground. The asbestos removal was more extensive than they thought but everything is proceeding on schedule,” she stated.

Fire Chief Doug Penny who is one of the founding members of the original fire hall said although his crew has to work out of a temporary facility during the construction period, in the end the wait will be worth it.

Penny has been the fire Chief for 25 years and said he can’t wait until they move into their new digs in the spring.

The new hall will meet the most current seismic requirements, use geothermal heating and is expected to see close to 80 per cent reduction in tonnes of carbon emissions. The new facility will also have a rainwater collection system, radiant floor heating and use locally sourced wood, among other sustainable features.

Penny said he is at the construction site most days watching the progress and providing assistance when needed.

“I have knowledge of the site. I am available to answer any questions,” he said.

Penny said without a proper meeting room they are not currently training any new recruits and he is hoping the new facility will attract some new volunteers.

“There definitely has been more interest and we have a bit of a waiting list for volunteers now.”

Penny said they are almost done with the groundwork with the footings and most of the concrete walls completed. He said the structural steel is up and things are progressing well.