City council is likely to approve renovations to the existing firehall, rather than build additional fire halls which could cut down firetruck’s response times to fires across the town.
Renovations to the existing fire hall had been delayed until city council was presented with the fire study, which recommended renovating the existing firehall over other options, including building a new satellite station at the Yellowknife airport or by Niven Lake.
Councillor Julian Morse said the satellite station in the Niven Lake area could cut down response times throughout Yellowknife to between four and six minutes.
According to city administration, building a fire hall near Niven Lake “was never seen as a standalone option” as there would still be challenges with the existing firehall.
“We would still have the challenge of ‘What do we do with our existing firehall’ to bring it up to a usable level for some of those fundamental things that are needed,” said Sheila-Bassi Kellett, administrator with the City of Yellowknife, in a governance and priorities committee meeting on Monday.
Another option, to build a satellite station at the airport, would require the GNWT releasing some space for the city to use. Both Niven and the airport stations are more “considerations into the future,” according to Bassi-Kellett.
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.
A financial carryover of $180,000 for the renovations to the shower rooms — which Bassi-Kellett said are currently “inadequate” — was put on pause until the fire hall study is made public.
A portion of that carryover is already being spent. Council approved a portion that money to go towards paying for a new rapid recoil system for power cords and airlines in the fire truck bay.
A final decision will be voted on by council on February 8.