Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Due Diligence in Purchasing Fire Station Property

We are one major step closer in the development of a Fire Station to replace Pelham Station #2.

You will remember me writing here in December about the start of the process to rezone the 4.9 acre property at 766 Welland Road for the development of a Fire Station.

The initial design envisioned the northern portion of the site, which is in the “Urban Boundary”, accommodating the ±10,000 square foot Fire Station, most of the parking, and the driveway. It was hoped that the remaining 2.6 acres – which is in the Greenbelt – could accommodate limited parking and emergency access to Centennial Park.

Well, that’s where we ran into problems with the Province’s Greenbelt. You see, the Greenbelt allows for neither the construction of a Fire Station nor for supporting infrastructure (like parking).

So, we reworked the plan and fit all parking inside the “Urban Boundary.”

The result? We officially completed the property’s zoning last week when the “appeal period” – the time during which anyone can appeal the zoning to the Ontario Municipal Board – ended.

Next, all structures and any environmental concerns on the property will be removed. That process should begin this week and be complete by the end of April

I am extremely pleased with this Council’s obvious due diligence before the completion of the property’s purchase. Here’s the process we followed:
‐ received a consultant report clearly stating that Fire Station #2 needed replacing;
‐ established a working committee to deal issues in consultant’s report;
‐ determined firefighting needs for Fire District #2 based on future growth projections;
‐ determined that required improvements could not occur at current site;
‐ developed “site criteria matrix” to help establish best location / property;
‐ invited the public to submit proposals for a new site;
‐ evaluated all sites and established a preferred site;
‐ completed a functional analysis – space requirements and building configuration;
‐ initiated discussions with landowner and performed an environmental assessment of site;
‐ developed business case to apply for funding;
‐ received $2.0 million joint investment by Federal and Provincial governments;
‐ agreed on property purchase conditional upon price, site clean‐up, and appropriate zoning;
‐ rezoned the site, and currently in process of cleaning it up;
‐ issued “request for proposals” for an architect

Next, Council will consider the architect’s RFPs on April 6 and construction should begin in the summer!

I hope you too are pleased with our due diligence in improving our Town together.