View Royal has settled on a design and site plan for its new fire hall.
The project’s architects and managers, along with View Royal fire Chief Paul Hurst, were at an open house in early April to explain features of the design to the public.
Hurst said that they took the concerns and ideas heard at the last public meeting, held Feb. 29, and made changes accordingly.
“People’s input is important. We’ve been listening to what people have been saying,” Hurst said. “I want this project to be successful and I want the community to have a successful project.”
Where the two-level building is situated on the 2.4 acre property at the 300-block of Island Highway has been altered to best utilize the site and improve traffic flow in and out.
It has been oriented to face Island Highway, directly across from Burnett Road, to improve access to the property.
Traffic has been a concern of nearby residents throughout the design process. To address this, one entrance to the site has been removed from the design to reduce traffic turning on and off Island Highway.
Public and staff parking will use one exit, while volunteer firefighters will use another entrance closer to truck bays. There will be separate access for fire trucks.
Noise has been given special attention, and a sound engineer went so far as to measure sound levels on the site. The building is set in the lowest part of the bowl-shaped property. The bank behind the site will be sloped in such a way that sound will bounce upwards, rather then reflected toward the road or toward houses behind the site.
“If you can’t see the source, you won’t hear it as much,” Adam Fawkes, architect and senior partner with Hughes Condon Marler Architects said. “(Sound) is greatly muffled and reduced if you can’t see it.”
Landscaping will be designed to also reduce noise and will use plants that absorb sound.
Unlike a proposed firehall training facility in Langford, Hurst said that any training that goes on at the new View Royal fire hall will have minimal noise for neighbours.
“Those are two very different scenarios,” Hurst said. “It’s a hot-button issue with some of the residents and I want make sure that it’s dealt with. I’m pretty confident this should solve it.”
The building itself is of a West Coast design and incorporates wood features, along with dark brick.
The main truck bay is post and beam, with glass doors showcasing the trucks.
Equipment and firefighters’ facilities will be on one side of the building, while on the opposite side will be offices, a public entrance, the emergency operations centre and community training facilities.
Hurst said that now the design is complete a final price estimate should be reached within a matter of weeks. That amount then has to go to council for approval.
“I’m happy so far with the outcome. It’s been a long road but now hopefully we’ve addressed the concerns of the neighbours.”
View Royal plans to hold a referendum or counter petition process to seek public permission to borrow money to build the hall.
View Royal Mayor Graham Hill was at the open house and said that he likes what he sees.
“I think it’s very well done,” Hill said.
“It’s taken advantage of the public input, it reflects the nature of the area. It’s been based on some good care and attention to money matters.”