Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Next Steps Taken in New Firehall

Town staff erected a yellow sign last Friday at 766 Welland Road. The sign, which indicated that the property has started the process of being rezoned, says “to permit the development of a Fire Station.”

You see, the Town recently finalized the agreement of purchase and sale for the 4.9 acre property that is required to replace for Pelham Fire Station #2 at Welland and Canboro Roads in Fenwick.

You will recall that in August 2008, Council established a Fire Station #2 Replacement Committee. The Committee determined that the Town needs a new Fire Station for several reasons: the current vehicle bays do not have enough room for future vehicle requirements; parts of the 60-year-old building are structurally inadequate and are cracking and deteriorating; there is not enough on-site parking for the volunteer firefighters during calls; there are significant safety concerns with as firefighters backing-up vehicles into the bays after each call.

The Committee also determined that the required improvements cannot occur on the current site. An additional vehicle bay attached to the current building would eliminate vehicle parking for the volunteer fire fighters, for example.

The Committee developed a “site criteria matrix” to help establish the best location. Using the matrix, the committee evaluated existing public lands. Those lands ranked less than 55% of the requirements for an ideal site.

In December 2008 and January 2009, the committee invited public landowners to submit options for a new site; these sites were evaluated with the same site criteria matrix.

The 766 Welland Road property received the highest score – well-above all other properties.

The northern portion of the site, which is in the “Urban Boundary”, will accommodate the new ±10,000 square foot Fire Station, most of the parking, and the driveway.

The southern portion – approximately 2.6 acres – is adjacent to Centennial Park and could provide much-needed emergency access to the Park.

The Federal and Provincial investments of $990,000 each make the $2.9 million project possible.

Following the re-zoning of the property, the Town will need to hire an architect to design the facility for this specific property.

A Site Plan will also have to be approved. The Site Plan will ensure that the property’s uses fit as well as possible to the uses of surrounding properties. This Plan will likely make use of fencing and landscaping to minimize any impact on neighbouring properties.

Construction could begin in the spring of 2010 with completion in late-fall.