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YK’s fire hall renovations paused until study approved by city council

Needed renovations to the fire hall have been delayed until a study into whether a new fire house will be needed is made public.

City of Yellowknife administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett said the study, which was received by council late in 2020, would be made available to the public in the next six weeks.

The fire hall study is assessing whether the current building, which was built in 1989, needs minor alterations, to be renovated, or completely demolished and rebuilt.

The firehouse has seen an expansion to its fire crew staff as the population of Yellowknife has grown, said Bassi-Kellett, as well as moving the city’s emergency services dispatch centre into the firehouse building. That has created capacity issues.

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“It’s pretty crowded in there, right?” said Bassi-Kellett. “The building’s in good shape, but it is beyond capacity.”

Several budget items related to fire hall renovations were cancelled or put on pause during budget deliberations for the 2021 budget.

A carryover from the fire hall improvement study, which was assessing the need for renovations to the firehall, was cancelled. The more than $300,000 that was set to be carried over for the fire hall emergency generator was also cancelled.

Another carryover of $180,000 for the renovations to the shower rooms — which Bassi-Kellett said are currently “inadequate” during budget deliberations — was put on pause until the fire hall study, is made public.

A portion of that carryover which was targeted towards renovations is still being spent. That money will pay for a new rapid recoil system for power cords and airlines in the fire truck bay.

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Bassi-Kellett said the city consults with the fire department about the renovations, but the decision will be up to city councillors. 

“The fire hall study will look at what is the best path forward to address the fact that we are beyond capacity,” she said.

Correction: A previous version of the article said the fire hall study had been received in September 2020. It was received late in 2020. The article has been updated to reflect this.

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