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October 27, 2017 3:28 pm

City Addresses New Fire Hall Questions

Sunday, September 17, 2017 @ 6:58 AM

View of the proposed site of new fire hall from a city ladder truck. Photo courtesy City of Prince George

Prince George, B.C. – The City of Prince George had some of its senior officials on hand to field questions at the proposed location of a new fire hall on Saturday.

Should voters give the ok in next month’s referendum for the borrowing of up to $15 million to build the fire hall it would be located on the south side of Massey Drive just to the east of the YMCA building.  Fire trucks responding to a call would have little difficulty making a right-hand turn onto Massey but many have questioned the ability to make a safe left-hand turn out of that site.

The City’s General Manager of Engineering and Public Works, Dave Dyer, says “first thing we’re going to do is widen the road to allow for a centre lane turn.  It’ll be one of those double turn lefts, so you’ll be able to go left into the tennis courts but the main reason will be for the fire trucks returning from a call to be able to turn left safely from that lane.  But also we’ll have a signal that will be activated during a call, and if they have to turn left, the traffic will stop.”

“We also plan to co-ordinate it with Massey and Carney and 20th so that that intersection will be stationary while the truck is manoeuvering out.  We normally have scopes on our intersections.  It’s not just a timer, it’s actually seeing that there’s no queue there anymore” and be able to say its clear.  “So that signal will stop the traffic when a left turn is needed and probably even when a right turn is needed just to stop the traffic from moving so the fire trucks can manoeuvre properly when there’s a call.”

Dyer says the widening of Massey, which is part of the project, will occur on the south side of the street “because one of the challenges we have are the (hydro) poles.  This is a transmission line, more than your average hydro line.  We will look at seeing if we can move those poles, as part of the process, but the room that we have is on the south side of Massey.  We also have to look beyond the curve at Griffiths and Masich Place Stadium, the cross walk there.”  He says the City is looking at some type of signal and a pedestrian crossing at that location.  “That will be part of the whole analysis for this corridor here.”

He says the intention is to keep access to the fire hall and access to the “Y” separate.  “It will look different than it does today.  We may have to do some re-routing inside.  Right now the access road to the Y is very tight to Massey.  We might have to look at a change in there but all that will part of the consultant’s requirements and we’ll have to work with the Y as well on how we make sure that movement is safe.”

Dyer says should taxpayers approve the fire hall project “I’m hoping was can have engineering look at the whole corridor all the way from the intersection of Massey, 20th and Winnipeg all the way to Pine Centre, because this route through here is a fairly busy route for vehicles but also, is there an opportunity to widen the road, maybe separately, but maybe the whole area there’s an opportunity to widen it for a safer bike route through here as well.  Because it is a very good connection to the downtown from the residential Westwood area.”

“I’m hoping that we can look at other improvements as well.  Obviously those would be costly but there may be opportunity to at least get some design work that we can plan for the future.”  Those type of things, though, he says would be totally separate from the fire hall project.



Has anyone asked the firefighters what they think of the left turn out of the proposed site? Their opinion is probably the one that should be given the most weight.

I am sure there will be a Control Light on the Road so a Left turn will not be a problem. Looks like a good site – more centrally located.
Hope VOTE goes through.

So, if I understand this correctly, the General Manager of Engineering and Public Works, thinks this isn’t an appropriate placement currently because of all the road work that will need to be done to accommodate the installation of this fire hall and ensure the safety of the public?

Those sound like some pretty serious changes they are considering and how many millions will that cost and when are they going to tell us that piece? Certainly not before the referendum I imagine. Sounds like the bill will be much bigger than advertised. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, just like the placement of the pool that requires an extra $6million for the site. These costs seem unreasonably high to me.

Site works well – just as I’m finishing my post Joe blows could bump and post – that’s just great. Now I have to try and remember what I was saying!
Probably won’t get posted after this comment any way

First, why put the new hall there – the residences listen to enuff sirens day and nite already. What about the church, do u think the patrons want to stop services to hear the sirens.

Second, that big parcel of land by the keg would be a better spot since the PAC really isn,t an essential service. It would be a great site – still centrally located, no residences.

Third, clear the land next to the old hall, just a waste of space – downsize the building.

Fourth, do we really need another traffic lite 25′ from Carney and Massey?
City can,t seem to put up traffic lites where needed for safety as it is.

Fifth, to “ONEOFAKIND” if they put the new fire hall across from your place of residence – now that would be a great site. I would “hope the VOTE goes through”. THey would have my VOTE for sure!

    1-why are you twobits2015 picking on me ?
    2-Sirens save lives,should not matter if Church is on.
    3-Downtown is NOT centrally located.
    4-What space by the old downtown hall ?
    5-Taffic lights save lives – more the better.
    6-There is no clear land over where I live – all buildings.
    7-So There.

Btw Joe blow I agree with your comments – now they make sense.

Another thing why not put PAC by the YMCA? Seems to me it would be the least offensive to the residences then the fire hall. Don’t get me wrong I am not a proponent to the PAC but as I see it – it’s the lesser of the 2 evils.

    I think you will find the Hall and his merry band of hoods want to keep the PAC downtown, where there is not parking.
    I am thinking the pAc will go where the pool is now and they will dismantle the old Legion and the fire hall and use those sites for parking, or at least that will probably be the areas of the PAC and its parking.

I think the site location is ridiculous. Who plans to put emergency response assets in a location that at onetime was riverbed and one day could be again? And then all the road upgrades, loss of park space, and millions in new infrastructure….

I support a new firestation but not in that location.

I think they need much better coverage for the industrisl sites and this location fails the major industrial sites as well as South Fott George.

I wonder if they even looked at something like the old South Scales location? Lights and cloverleaf overpass at the bridge facilitates good access all around with no needed road upgrades later… to get out to the airport for an emergency or another dust explosion at Carrier or PBEC and they are right where they need to be. Could probably add a firehall at the south scales and keep a firehall at its existing location for less then the current proposal once all things considered, and have much improved coverage.

    How many millions collected in property taxes from the industrial areas south of the Fraser? And yet they don’t merrit firehall coverage?

      If there was ever a chemical leak at FMC and those chemicals go to the lowest point, then our new firehall and regional response center at the Massey location would have to be evacuated being situated in a collection spot.

Some points to consider, in addition to the points made about the improvements required to Massey, which really are not required if the fire hall does not go there.

1. The industrial area in the BCR and Danson as well as the airport and any new developments on the Boundary Rd. are not adequately covered. That issue was identified in the June 2016 extensive report to City Council.

2. The report recommends building a training centre in an industrial area because the new standards require training on live burns with the accommodating smoke.

3. Sydney, BC is building a 23,000 sf firehall combined with training centre for live burns, classrooms, etc., an attached BC ambulance facility for a total of around 25,000sf for $9million on a $1million property they bought. There is no info so far on a size for ours. I do not know how they derived the $15million building cost. I have seen no sizes referred to.

4. Using google earth, or any other public GIS system for that matter, normal traffic for standard vehicles shows that time from the chosen location to the “downtown” precinct of Prince George is increased, as is the time taken to the southern end of the BCR as well as the airport. The airport is prepared to fight aviation fires and other such emergencies, not structural fires. It took PG over 20 minutes to respond to the NTair hangar fire. 8 minutes is the target time.

5. Fire hall #1 is responsible for responding to the River Rd industrial area as well as the Husky Plant and the pulpmills. The new location will be further away.

6. The downtown areas have the highest density of “improved assessed” properties, which will only increase over the life of the new firehall.

7. Nanaimo has 7 firehalls (3 of them some volunteer) and Kamloops has 5 to cover an area smaller than that of Prince George. We have a sprawling city and providing adequate and relatively equal coverage is an expense that comes as a result.

8. They talk about the downtown fire hall being inside a floodplain. So is the new location. In fact, there is a 20 year floodplain shown on the city’s PGMAP GIS database. The existing firehall is not in that, only the Queensway industrial are is in it. There is a 20 year floodplain at the new location, with the actual building being in it or immediately adjacent to it. They are not sharing any borehole data for the new site with us.

9. In my view, having been involved with site selection processes, they have not done the base data exploration to derive at the new location or a cost for the building.

We are being asked to make a decision without the data needed to make that decision. We are only given trust as a prerequisite to the vote. In today’s age of open government, that is inadequate in my view.

    Use the already situated live fire training area up at the airport maybe.

The city commissioned AECOM to do an assessment of #1 fire hall early this year and what was highly unusual was they did not look at the overall structural integrity of the building but instead focused on things like stairs, interior finishes, roofing, electrical and HVAC systems. Basic building maintenance items, a subject that is totally foreign to those at city hall.

If the building is still structurally sound it would make a lot more sense to invest 2 or 3 million to upgrade and even expand rather than blow 15 mill on a new hall that will still have major deficiencies as gopg2015 has outlined.

And from the way out there department- the city still owns the old fire hall just off of Queensway. Had almost forgotten about it it I saw it mentioned in an AECOM report, still looks in decent shape although the Google Earth picture is a few years old…..and it might be hard to kick the tenants out as sign says it is now a martial arts school:)

I thought maybe they were going to but the fire hall right on the corner of Carney and Massey… then like the 5th avenue fire hall they can control the lights remotely allowing them to leave the hall and go in all directions unimpeded.

if they build where the picture shows they will have to build a whole new intersection, which is doable, and I am guessing money is no object.

anyone else notice they are very hush hush about the pool?

    They are proposing to deal with the promotional show for the pool in October in a similar fashion to the fire hall.

    Remember, they have limited staff …. ;-)

Based on GIS mapping calculation the following are distances in km to some representative areas in the central part of Prince George as well as far reaches of the Industrial area on the east side of the Fraser (there are no fire halls there)

The first number is the distance from the existing fire hall #1

The second the distance from the proposed Massey fire hall

The third number is the percentage increase or decrease (negative number) in the distance form the proposed location to the structure compared to the existing fire hall #1

How can the City say, with a straight face, that the new location will improve the response time?

Definitely not for areas east of Winnipeg, an area that contains the highest structural assessment values.

1 widc >>>> 0.29 2.2 658.6%
2 6th/vict apartment >>>> 0.45 2.0 344.4%
3 queensway apartments >>>> 0.85 2.1 147.1%
4 bedford crescent (Millar Sub)>>>> 1.8 3.2 77.8%
5 railway/forestry museum >>>> 3.2 4.9 53.1%
6 3rd ave apartment >>>> 1.1 1.9 72.7%
7 jail >>>> 3.5 5.2 48.6%
8 husky >>>> 7.5 7.4 -1.3%
9 northwood >>>> 12.1 12.0 -0.8%
10 Pacific Bioenergy Willow Cale >>>> 11.9 11.0 -7.6%

What I am seeing is that we need a new station housing the administration offices for the department, dispatch, a full training centre (which will provide space in the other halls, which all have responsibility for specific training, etc.

That station should be built in the industrial area on the east of the Fraser.

Hall number one is structurally sound, requires some maintenance, and can be altered to allow for the housing of a ladder truck. If the bays are not long enough, there is room for an extension in the front.

If the bay is not high enough, the east bay height can be increased, even if second floor space has to be reduced, since existing office(s) will be relocated.

If that fails, there is enough property in the back to add a structure to house a ladder truck.

I am not even sure whether a ladder truck is dispatched on the initial alarm. I would think that the immediate response would be there to assess the equipment needed, unless the alarm identifies the floor on which the fire is located.

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