Firehall Feedback

Firehall Feedback

I’ve mentioned North Shuswap 2040 before. That’s my focus when considering bigger issues that take up space in my mental inbox, it’s like thinking ahead and what’s best for your children when they grow up. The Scotch Creek/Lee Creek Firehall is one of those issues. So, what does Scotch Creek/Lee Creek 2040 look like? Well, SC/LC 2021 looked like this: Full time population almost 1400, an increase of 27% from 2016. I don’t think it’s fair to extrapolate a population increase of 27% every 5 years to 2040 but if we say 10% every 5 years then the 2040 SC/LC population is close to 1900. Now, the firehall we had wasn’t big enough for the equipment we had. It had been added on to once already, and still the command truck spent most of its time sitting in the parking lot. I won’t mention a potential ambulance bay as I’m not feeling the love from the CSRD on that. But with or without that, the building must get bigger to handle current and projected growth.

Insurance is a thing. A necessary evil, kinda like lawyers and taxes (apologies to the lawyers out there). I think we all know that insurance isn’t going to cover a rebuild that’s bigger or significantly different than what was there in the first place. So, how do we build what SC 2040 needs? Well, we have to get some money from somewhere. The Province and Feds have this thing called the SENDAI FRAMEWORK for emergency preparedness and response. Basically, all actions strive to strengthen preparedness and response, or simply ‘Build Back Better’. I’m hoping that in that vein, the Province will provide funds to upgrade our firehall. That remains to be seen. We may have to fund some ourselves. We currently have a reserve fund of $1.7 million in our Area F Fire Protection budget. This reserve builds up every year and is there for those times when we have to make large purchases. Things like firetrucks are $1.5m+ alone, but fortunately we don’t need one of those right now. What we do have are two firehalls that need to be built. SC/LC will be primarily funded by fire insurance. Anglemont, when it gets built, will be funded by a loan, basically a mortgage that we residents will take out to cover what our reserves don’t.

Changing topics for a moment, I’d like to chat about community infrastructure. The North Shuswap as a whole, has a 2021 population of 3200, a 30% increase over 2016 (Chase was 2400, Sicamous 2600). I don’t think 30% is sustainable but if we build out at 10% every 5 years to 2040 we expect a total population of almost 4700 full time population. We live in a rural area, and I don’t expect (or want) all of the services of Chase or Sicamous, but… It would be great to have a few more services. One of the limitations on bringing in a younger permanent population is lack of daycare, which I see as a short-term necessity. Since Covid and the fire, food security is a bigger topic and local production and sales along with a food bank is becoming a need/desire. The Province has grants to build daycare facilities, and we have a society which tells me we could have 30 or more kids using it tomorrow, and trained staff ready to go, but… No land to build on.

The priority right now is SC/LC firehall. And one way or another it will be built, and it should be built to accommodate expected growth. The CSRD is suggesting that the quickest and easiest is to build the same building back in the same place. They’re also suggesting that an upgraded firehall may have to be situated on a different lot as the existing lot is relatively narrow and not really ideal for an expanded footprint. It could be done but it would be a compromise, and it wouldn’t include a meeting space like the old hall. That’s another piece of community infrastructure that is needed in Scotch Creek. So, what to do? We need an expanded firehall. We need a meeting space. We could really use childcare, and space for potential other small-town services.

My proposal: that we use some reserve funds to purchase a larger lot in Scotch Creek to build an new firehall. We then lease the old firehall lot to a local non-profit, where we can begin to add some of these local infrastructure pieces, when grants are available.

The decision has to be made shortly, by mid-March, as we’ve got to get started on the new firehall asap. Give it some thought. Consider what we have now, but please also think about North Shuswap 2040. The decisions we make today will build our community of tomorrow, a growing prosperous North Shuswap.

Let me know your thoughts:
Survey closes March 13, 2024

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10 thoughts on “Firehall Feedback

  1. A bigger and better facility would be great if old property could be used as hall/ daycare /community food bank. Hopefully a few options on new spot for fire hall they aren’t overpriced

  2. The original firehall was built by volunteer labour under the direction of Bill Burke.
    Are there no volunteers to help with the construction of a new fire hall?
    Is there no one who could command the building of a firehall?
    Have we become that reliant on a costly contracted building?

  3. Good morning
    I think the firehall should be build asap on land that firehall was previously on.
    Next to pickleball courts is a small building. This land is all ready owned. So no new land needs to be bought. This building could be fixed ( even by volunteers/ local companies) Used as a day care. The playground is close with large grassy area to play in. This is where school bus drops of students.
    Then when daycare not in use building could be used for meetings( weekends and nights)
    Also new pickleball courts could teach the youth to play pickleball and bring more tourists to area to spend there money ( people are looking at holiday destinations where they can play pickleball for exercise and enjoyment.
    We have a perfect site.
    Playground, field, building( renovation) pickleball courts. Lots of parking for parent to drop of. Or for groups to go to meetings, school bus drop of site for after school care.
    Please use and fix up what we have !!

  4. This is a tough one!
    I would say; build a Firehall that meets our community needs for the next 10 years .Make sure to design it so future additions can be accommodated without having to make huge infrastructure changes. If our 2040 – 2050 Firehall fits on the current site then build it there. If not then build on a different central location to the halls service area.
    Lastly, if there is any non fire department money (ie community room) that was part of the old Firehall; that proportion of the insurance money should be transferred to a reserve for a future community building in Area F. On another subject: the best daycare model I have seen is a non profit working out of a school. If there is not currently room in Celista maybe add a portable classroom. This makes for good day care, before and after school care. Ask me if you want to see a model that I saw work in a different community.

  5. Find a way to use the old property and upgrade. Build it taller, put offices and meeting rooms upstairs, lots of firehalls built on small plots. Most importantly get it done asap!!!

  6. Best option is to build on new one at the same site with the existing insurance coverage. The community cannot cope now with more expenses and hassles. If there is need for more facilities in the future, when the population has increased, then the costs will be covered by the larger number of residents. It would not be fair to put the cost of potential future needs on a community suffering now from a devastating wildfire. As for the hall, it was primarily used for volunteer fire fighter training and elections, so there is no need for a larger building as yet.

  7. Build the firehall where it was there isn’t any property better suited .There are 3 pieces of property surrounding the property and I would bet if the CSRD worked with the property owners in what they would like to do and build there could be a great compromise worked out and every one could benefit the Firehall would have the space for future expansion .
    Get us a firehall built ASAP
    NO studies no BULL GET IT REPACED

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