It’s going to be a major showcase in the expanding, eastern part of urban Maple Ridge.
Plus, the new Fire Hall No. 4 is going to keep people safer.
The Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue facility that should open in about 18 months, will allow quicker response times to emergencies and fires in the suburbs and rural areas.
Fire chief Howard Exner said construction is expected to start by the end of 2018 and take about a year and a half.
“It will make a nice facility. It will make a nice community infrastructure,” Exner said recently.
On the same grounds of the new hall, there will be a neighbourhood park, so people will feel welcome in the area. As well, a natural conservation area leading down to the Rainbow Creek will enhance the environmental quality of the location.
The building is also built to the latest earthquake standards and is considered a post-disaster building that should survive most natural events.
Once open, 20 paid-on-call firefighters will staff the new building, helping improve fire-department response times to the eastern part of Maple Ridge.
Two computer server rooms that are part of the city’s information technology system, will also be located in the new building, saving the city the expense of providing that space elsewhere. The fire hall also comprises a training centre, where crews will practise high-angle rescues, fire training and auto extrication, but not live-fire exercises.
Those will continue to be done at the Justice Institute of B.C. facility on north 256th Street.
Fire Hall No 4 has been planned for almost two decades and now carries a price tag of about $15 million.
Part of that sum, $6 million, has previously been approved for borrowing and will be paid off through the fire department capital acquisition reserve.
A lump sum of $8.6 million will be paid directly from that same reserve, while $388,000 will come from the city’s capital works reserve.
If taxpayers are wondering if they’re getting their money’s worth, dozens of environmental and tech features will make it state of the art. The new hall will be 40 per cent more energy efficient than required by the building code and will use waste heat, generated by the servers and computers, to heat other parts of the building.
Radiant heating in the huge garage bays for the fire trucks will keep the concrete a consistent temperature, also providing a heat sink, that will help remove snow and ice from the undersides of the trucks.
The facility will also use storm water, instead of tap water, as a source for the pumper truck testing, while drought-tolerant plants that don’t need watering will be used in the landscaping. Low-flow taps, toilets, and urinals will reduce water consumption by 45 per cent compared to a standard building. The design will rely heavily on local timber and will be done in a way to allow components to be replaced or repaired in the future. Solar thermal and photo-voltaic cells could also be installed, though that’s not certain.
Even the exterior lighting has been considered, to reduce waste light and glare and minimize light impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.
The new hall has been planned to minimize impacts on the area, Exner said previously. The main fire hall would help block noise from the training centre to the north, while landscaping and trees would also help reduce noise. Studies were even done to reduce the impact of light from the hall on the surrounding neighbourhood.
“We knew that noise was going to be an issue. We’ve been proactive about what the concerns will be,” Exner said.
Some training will take place in the evening, but nothing into the late-evening hours.