Salt Spring fire district and CRD work together on fire hall issues

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The Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District (SSIFPD) and the Capital Regional District (CRD) have agreed to establish a joint working group to make recommendations to their respective organizations regarding both a new public safety building incorporating a CRD Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) as well as the repurposing of the existing Ganges Fire Hall.

As stated in a joint July 2 press release, both the existing CRD Emergency Centre and the Ganges Fire Hall are currently in buildings that are seismically unsound, provide inadequate storage and fail to meet Workers’ Compensation Board standards for both employee and volunteer safety.

“While the Ganges Fire Hall will no longer be used for its original purpose, this centrally located downtown property still holds significant value,” said fire board chair Per Svendsen. “It will be kept as a public asset and redeveloped so that the community can continue to benefit from this location. Sale proceeds will go towards the fire district’s longstanding goal of building a new, ‘work-safe’ fire hall that meets all modern regulatory standards.”

Salt Spring CRD director Gary Holman stated, “By working together, we can achieve, more cost effectively, the building of a new public safety building that includes a co-located EOC, as well as retain the existing fire hall and site as important public assets in the centre of Ganges.”

New Fire Hall/ Public Safety Building

The fire board and the CRD will work together on the development of a new facility at 455 Lower Ganges Rd., near Brinkworthy, on land donated to the fire district by the property owner in 2013. Both parties feel it is centrally located and provides adequate space for both a new fire hall and EOC and offers much improved vehicle access and parking space. Design and cost-sharing terms for the shared space are now under negotiation.

Existing Ganges Fire Hall

The fire district will grant the CRD an option to purchase or lease the Ganges Fire Hall site for fair market value, with the price and other terms of purchase to be negotiated. If the site is purchased by the CRD, it will most likely be re-purposed with a focus on a public food market and related uses.

For more information on how the CRD and the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District will work together on this initiative, see the Memo of Understanding.

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