An overview of the new fire hall being constructed in Lake Country. (Artist’s rendering)

New North Okanagan fire hall breaks ground

Groundwork is on tap for a new community firehall.

Site works are starting the week of Aug. 10 at Okanagan Centre Road East and Jardines Road in Lake Country for the community’s new firehall building.

“The community has seen tremendous growth in recent years and public safety is a primary focus of the Lake Country Fire Department,” Mayor James Baker said. “Our paid-on-call firefighters respond to fires, medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, ice rescue and marine rescue, in addition to fire safety public education in the schools and at events for the whole community.”

The purpose-built facility will include four double apparatus bays, training and maintenance yard area and office space able to serve the first response needs of the community for at least the next 20 years. The property was chosen as a new firehall site and purchased in 2008 after reviewing the community development plans along with fire protection coverage areas and insurance parameters (eight km residential/five km commercial); future traffic and transportation plans; property cost, size and access for volunteer firefighters.

“In designing the facility, it was important to consider a 50-year infrastructure lifespan with the ability to expand the facility to meet future needs and community growth,” said Baker.

The new firehall will include shower and decontamination facilities to meet current WorkSafe requirements; a flexible training space to make it more efficient and cost effective for crews from all three Lake Country stations to receive training and courses onsite, an administration office as well as a parking area with 52 stalls plus two barrier-free stalls. The new building has been planned to incorporate energy efficient construction and other environmentally-friendly building techniques leading to improved operating efficiencies over the long term.

“It is very important to have adequate space for multi-jurisdictional response teams when we need their help in our community – as we did in 2017 when we experienced challenges staging the BC Wildfire Service, RCMP and neighbouring fire department crews coming to assist,” Fire Chief Steve Windsor said. “The new facility will include a hose drying/training tower as well as natural gas training props so crews can schedule regular hands-on training scenarios with equipment we use frequently in Lake Country.”

The estimated total cost of the firehall including design, construction and servicing is $9 million. The new facility is expected to be completed by March 2022.

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