YOU ARE HERE : Home / City Issues / Current Issues / City Infrastruture  / Firehall Number 1 Replacement 
Firehall Number 1 Replacement

On April 16,2011 Port Moody Residents are being asked to vote in a referendum to support the borrowing of up to $ 16 million to replace firehall #1 (at Ioco and Guildford/Murray Streets).

Report from Jan 25,2011 Council Agenda with design / site details: Click Here   
Some questions I am commonly being asked:
Where is it going ? The same site ?
Yes, the same site.  We considered options for the siting going back a number of years, when early discussions were around a site on Heritage Mountain.  Call volumes for the fire department show that the 'ideal' location for the firehall, to provide the best response times for the majority of the calls, is within a few hundred meters of the current location - so moving the hall very far from where it is doesnt make any sense in terms of citizen protection.  We considered options NEAR the current site, however, the feedback from residents was to rebuild on the current site.  One of the deciding factors, for me personally, was the information that due to the creeks and the streamside setbacks, this property is very limited in terms of how much of it can be built on, effectively eliminating other uses of the property.
Why so much ?
The $ 16 million is a ceiling amount, with large contingencies included, and all site works, furnishings, etc - this is NOT just the cost of the building which should come in well under $ 10 million.  This is the joy of being government - you have to put this information out for public consumption, which of course, includes the potential builders / bidders on this project .. so in likelihood, most bids will be very close to our estimates.  Sad sometimes but this is part of the challenge of providing open/transparent government.
Do we really need a new firehall ?
If you've seen the firehall, you know we do.  It is literally falling apart.
Why dont we have money set aside for this project ? Shouldn't all this development be paying for these things ?
Growth brings with it financial implications, like expanding police and fire departments as well as city utilities and staff levels.  This generally happens 'behind the curve' of actual population growth.  In the last 7 years we have doubled the size of our fire department and 'permanently' opened firehall # 2 in Glenayre, expanded our police force, and added resources to most city departments to deal with growth. This is funded through our operating budgets. 
We have also, on the capital side,  opened a $ 26 million dollar expanded recreation complex. We have opened a new $ 9 million police building.  We have done extensive upgrades of Rocky Point Park and Inlet Park recreation facilities.  The city made choices to allocate development revenues to these projects and the operating budget has been under pressure for the staff expansions, and no money has been set aside previously for replacement of the major capital assets.  We started a program a couple of years ago of actually allocating on the tax bill and setting aside major capital asset renewal monies, to help the city in the future, but, this doesn't help with this project.

I thought we could sell the existing site to a developer and that would pay for a new firehall, either there, or on another site ?

This was a very early idea that staff and council investigated.  There are details laid out in the city presentation from the town hall meeting in January, that indicates this is one option , however, it became less realistic of an option for the following reasons:
1) residents were opposed to additional high density development on this site or in the inlet centre area in general.  Personally, I have always felt that this site has long been considered for development, and I would have been happy to have had a more thorough discussion on this idea, however:
2) the city does not have any suitable land in the immediate area, and this area is identified as the strategically correct location for a firehall.  A high percentage (like 80) of the fire/rescue calls are within a couple of minutes of this location, it is on the NORTH side of the tracks/overpasses, it is clear of the heavily congested St Johns Street corridor, and it can service April Road/Ioco Road within the acceptable response time allowances.  Thoughts of building a firehall in the parking lot of the rec centre or Knowle St or Pioneer Park were investigated but are frought with issues that would drive the costs, and the issues, up and up.
3) this site is heavily encumbered by envirionmental/streamside setback regulations that limit the possibility of residential/commercial development, and therefore, would limit the revenue to be gained. The city would then sell this land for little return and still have to relocate the firehall, and, because we do not own land in the area, we would be left purchasing private land for the firehall (or, as was suggested, if the firehall was moved to the works yard site, we would be relocating the works yard - all of the options have associated costs and the revenue available from the firehall site would simply not come close to offsetting those costs).   
The reality as we know it now, the 1300 sq metre footprint of the proposed firehall doesn't even fit on the portion of the property 'allowed' for building under the setback regulations, and already includes variances for setbacks to Ioco Road and the partial closure of Knowle Street.  There is NO WAY a developer would be interested in this site for any density development (high, medium or otherwise), as their buildable parcel would be little more than 1.5 Moody Centre lots.  How many units could they build on that small of a parcel, and, they also have to consider parking and utility service issues.  VERY FEW, maybe 6 ? And that would not bring 'millions' of dollars into the city, we would forever lose this land as a city asset, and we would still need a new fire hall !!

Print View   Site Map   Login