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Colwood to consider satellite firehall in Royal Bay

About 7,500 dwellings to come to south Colwood developments
Colwood Fire Rescue. (Black Press Media file photo)

The City of Colwood will consider a new satellite fire hall in Royal Bay to better serve the thousands of new residents that will soon move into the area.

A report has been prepared to go to Committee of the Whole recommending amenity contributions towards the City’s South Colwood Fire Hall Fund as well as the development of a fire hall when 30 per cent of the land in Royal Bay, the Latoria Corridor and Olympic View is built.

About 7,500 dwellings will go up in the three developments, according to the report, causing Colwood Fire Rescue to identify the need for a satellite fire hall to maintain or improve service levels and response times in south Colwood.

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“The fire department has raised concerns that the potential densities in Royal Bay, Olympic View and the Latoria corridor may create potential issues regarding response times and service delivery for emergency services,” the report says. “A satellite fire hall is considered necessary in order to maintain or improve the service levels in south Colwood.”

Colwood Fire Rescue Chief John Cassidy said they originally had a plan in place to add fire halls in the early 2000s in anticipation of development coming into Colwood. With the housing crash, development slowed but Cassidy said he’s dusted off the plans again in anticipation of growth in Royal Bay.

He said adding fire halls will help support the department’s service delivery model, which is a combination of full-time crew and volunteers.

“It comes down to supporting what we do now,” Cassidy said. “It makes sense with increased traffic and density.”

Gablecraft Homes, the developers of Royal Bay, has identified a potential location of the fire hall in the development area near Latoria Boulevard. The staff report says a fire hall in the area would need a site of about half an acre. It also says an engine would be relocated from the current fire hall, eliminating the need to purchase another. The cost of the fire hall would be about $3.8 million, including building and servicing costs as well as the land cost.

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Staff recommend that a $525 per dwelling amenity contribution towards the fire hall be included in zoning amendments for Latoria South and Royal Beach, which have a total of 4,900 dwellings that would pay for about $2.45 million of the fire hall over a build-out period projected to run until 2040. The rest of the funds would be allocated using the City’s budget process.

“Royal Bay and Royal Beach are envisioned as a primary centre for Colwood where future growth and development will be focused,” said Sandra Russell, communications manager for the City of Colwood. “An additional fire hall would support Colwood’s volunteer firefighter delivery model, enabling the City to continue to meet our 10-minute response service standard.”

Russell said when and where a fire hall might be needed would depend on the pace of development over the next 10 to 20 years. The proposed location of the fire hall will be the subject of public comments and council review.

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