City of Powell River forms committee to examine new emergency services facility

Fire hall is simply spent, says fire chief

City of Powell River council has given the go-ahead for the formation of an advisory committee to examine the planned emergency services facility to replace the city’s current fire hall.

At the council meeting on Thursday, July 4, councillors voted for the formation of a select committee, and that staff be directed to advertise for expressions of interest to participate on the committee and prepare recommendations for committee membership for council’s approval.

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Director of fire and emergency services Terry Peters told the council meeting this is a process that will start for the new emergency services facility.

“This has been a long process that has been done since I started as a rookie firefighter,” he said. “It’s been 23 years since we left the Cranberry fire hall. Our hall is simply spent.”

Peters said the fire department has talked with several other communities that have been going through the process of building a new fire hall. What has been found is that engagement with the community is paramount. There has been a realization in Powell River that things have to be done and the time is now to engage the community.

“Like I’ve said many times, we will turn over every stone to be fiscally responsible to make this happen,” said Peters.

In terms of the formation of the standing committee, Peters said he is looking for people who have an interest in emergency services, with skills such as engineering, design or other attributes that would be beneficial to the process. Council will have the approval of the final committee when names are put forward.

“We are going to start the process and ultimately be prepared for a referendum,” said Peters. “How that referendum will happen will be part of the committee’s decision and it will be brought forward to council; what would be the best option for the community? I’m giving you the commitment that we’ll be doing everything we can to protect this community.”

In December 2013, council passed the following resolution: that the vacant property at 7104 Barnet Street be endorsed as the future location of an emergency services facility and that all consideration and care be taken to ensure the retention of sensitive environmental areas and that positive environmental enhancements be included in the planning and construction of the facility.

The property that has been identified is next door to Powell River’s RCMP detachment.

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