Victoria Fire Department headquarters gets failing grade

Consultant report says structure unsound in event of major disaster

In the event of a major seismic event, fire trucks would likely not be able to exit Victoria’s Fire Station No. 1 due to the potential collapse of the door openings.

It’s one of the more alarming findings of an assessment of the 50-year-old structure, located at 1234 Yates St.

“The upper floor and roof are not connected suitably to the exterior walls,” according to the report by Johnston Davidson Architecture and Planning Inc., which was presented to city council this morning. “The existing apparatus bays need significant bracing to meet the current basic B.C. Building Code.”

More than seismic issues, however, the fire hall bays are too short and narrow to hold modern fire trucks. In general, the 26,700 square-foot building is too small to contain all the services it provides, including emergency planning centre, dispatch centre, and antique fire-truck storage.

The consultants concludes 37,406 square feet of space are needed to meet these needs.

The report provides the following options:

• $4.5 million basic seismic upgrade to function during a seismic disaster;

• $6.6 million seismic upgrade enabling the facility to function after a disaster;

• $15 million to $16 million station replacement on existing site. Would meet all code requirements but not include storage for antique fire trucks or emergency management vehicles.

• $16.4 million: new facility on new larger site to accommodate all department needs. Alleviates need for temporary fire hall relocation during construction.

Victoria’s director of engineering Dwayne Kalynchuk recommends preparing a business plan for consideration during the 2012 capital budget planning.

 

rholmen@vicnews.com