The Capital Regional District (CRD) and the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District (Fire District) announced today that they will be working together on plans for fire halls.
A joint working group will be established between the two organizations to move towards building a new hall, while also keeping the existing Ganges Fire Hall.
However, the old fire hall will no longer be used for emergency services and will be repurposed. Part of the agreement between the Fire District and the CRD is an option for the CRD to purchase or lease the Ganges site for fair market value.
The CRD says if they purchase it, the Ganges Fire Hall would likely be used for a public food market and other related purposes.
“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.
“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.”
That new fire hall is set to be built at 55 Lower Ganges Road near Brinkworthy. The land was donated to the Fire District in 2013.
The new facility would also incorporate a CRD Emergency Operations Centre. The CRD says the new location would offer improved vehicle access and parking space.
It will also incorporate new standards for seismic construction which are not met by the current facilities on Salt Spring Island.
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.”
The new facility’s capital and operating costs are still to be negotiated by the CRD and the Fire District.