The Cariboo Fire Centre (CFC) will be getting a new $5.88 million firefighting facility at the Williams Lake Airport, the provincial government announced Friday.
The new one-storey, 2,045-square-metre (22,000-square-foot) main building and three upgraded outbuildings will be home to the CFC’s main office, associated support services, and ground crew and air crew facilities. Planned amenities include the regional wildfire co-ordination centre, air tanker and pilot facilities, meeting and training rooms staff offices, workshops, firefighter changing rooms, laundry and shower areas, and storage areas.
The four buildings will replace 11 separate structures and trailers, some of which are about 40 years old. The old CFC facility was originally set up to accommodate about half the number of staff that work there now, so its operational needs have long outgrown the older buildings.
Lauren Brothers Construction has been selected to build the state-of -the-art firefighting complex through a competitive process. Construction is starting this month and should be completed by fall 2016.
About two-thirds of the project’s trade contractors are companies in the Williams Lake area.
The new structure will be built on long-term leased land at the north end of the Williams Lake Airport, in the same spot where the previous office and auxiliary buildings were located.
Until the new building is completed, BC Wildfire Service staff will work in temporary trailers that have been set up near the construction site.
The new CFC facility will improve wildfire response and suppression capabilities in one of the most active wildfire regions in the province. One of the goals of this project is to centralize staff resources and promote increased efficiency. When responding to wildfires, fast and effective communications can directly impact decision-making, help minimize fire damage and enhance public safety.