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Saanich breaks ground on new fire station as costs skyrocket to $44M

The new fire hall will be a two-storey, state-of-the-art, 23,500-square-foot building
Left to right: Saanich fire Chief Mike Burgess, Royal Oak Community Association president Roger Graham and Mayor Dean Murdock break ground for the fire station number two redevelopment. (Ella Matte/News Staff)

Saanich is redeveloping its old number-two fire hall in Royal Oak into a two-storey, 23,500-square-foot building.

Replacing the fire hall built in 1978, the new facility will accommodate up to 10 firefighters, eight fire vehicles and include an expanded training yard and facilities.

“I’ve been in the fire chief position for the last 13 years and this project is something we’ve been working on through our strategic facilities master plan for the last five years,” said soon-to-be-retired Saanich fire Chief Mike Burgess. “As I go out the door at the end of January into retirement knowing that this project has broken ground and taking shape, I’ll be sitting back as a resident in the community watching it come to life, so it’s exciting.”

READ MORE: ‘Out with a bang not a fizzle’: Longtime Saanich fire chief set to retire

The cost of the redevelopment is an estimated $44 million and will take around 24 to 26 months of construction to complete, according to the fire chief. The station is made to last as the life expectancy of the station will be around 80 years.

Delays, material costs and design changes over the past four years caused the budget for the project to nearly double, increasing from $26.6 million.

”So looking very much down the road in terms of as the community growth and developing it for being able to service it for the long term, we’re expanding the property here today,” said Burgess. “We have very high energy performance standards within this building to B.C. energy step code, meeting net zero carbon emissions and building it with mass timber construction. So it’s certainly a sustainable building and looking towards reducing our carbon footprint.”

Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock is thrilled to break ground on a new fire hall as he called the current fire station “undersized and over-age.

“This is going to be a tremendous community asset when it’s built out and it’s going to continue to provide through our fire services, really high-quality protective services for our community.”

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About the Author: Ella Matte

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