Courtenay Improving Fire Service in East Courtenay
June 2, 2014
Independent reports and other resources now available online
After reviewing recommendations from two independent reports analyzing Courtenay’s fire service needs, City Council has voted unanimously to proceed with a new satellite fire hall and training ground in East Courtenay. The analyses were conducted by experts in fire protection, who each conducted a thorough review of fire protection issues.
The City has posted numerous resources on its website at www.courtenay.ca, including the Firewise Consulting report and Fire Underwriters Survey, frequently asked questions about the project, and a video clip of Councillor Jon Ambler’s presentation to City Council on May 20, 2014.
The independent reports both determined that Courtenay clearly needed a second fire hall and a training ground that could enhance crew training and incident commander training. The new facility will improve fire service on the east side of the river, shortening response times and ensuring that both sides of the community will be safeguarded in the event of an emergency.
Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula said the decision to move forward with the second fire hall and training ground was not taken lightly. “Our Firehall Project Review Committee analyzed the need for this fire hall and training ground very thoroughly,” said Mayor Jangula. “According to the independent advice we received, this facility is something our City needs to maintain an appropriate level of fire service and firefighter training.
“After reviewing all of the information, I am confident that we’ve made the right decision for the right reasons.”
The satellite fire hall will be located on Waters Place, behind the B.C. Hydro substation on Lerwick Road (Veteran’s Memorial Parkway). This site had been purchased by the city in 2005, to be used for a fire hall when the time came.
Construction on the training ground will begin without further delay. The satellite fire hall will be subject to further design and cost review. Construction of the fire hall would begin in 2016, with a target opening date in early 2017 – in time for the opening of the new hospital that will be just across the road. Based on similar fire halls recently constructed in other communities, the estimated cost for the Courtenay fire hall plus training facilities is approximately $5.7 million – substantially lower than the original 2012 cost estimate.
Councillor Ambler, chair of the project review committee, said the lengthy review process allowed the committee to make an informed decision. “After analyzing all the facts, it’s clear that this facility is going to make our community safer, and don’t forget the Courtenay Fire Department protects over 35,000 people in the Comox Valley” said Ambler. “Just as importantly, it’s going to protect the lives of our firefighters through improved training.”
“The Courtenay Fire Department offers an extremely cost-effective volunteer force,” Ambler continued. “We have a moral obligation to invest in the leadership, equipment, training and facilities our volunteers require to safely face the dangers of the job, a life-saving job they do on our behalf.”
The training ground will permit Courtenay to develop a practical officer training program – another key recommendation from the Firewise Report. The Courtenay training ground will complement existing programs offered at the Comox Fire Training Centre, not duplicate them. Courtenay will continue to use the Comox facility for live fire training even after the new training facility is complete.