Council wrestles with request for more bays in fire hall
By Nowell Berg
On June 27, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present, along with Mayor Don McCormick.
Due to pandemic restrictions, the public and media are not allowed to attend Council Chambers. Meetings live stream on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel. Watch the archive here.
Fire Station #1 Expansion
Much debate arose around Fire Chief Rick Prasad’s request that council approve a grant application to “construct three new bays to support Fire Station #1 in the parking lot located adjacent to City Hall.” The capital expenditure would be $2,098,444, and only proceed if the grant were received.
The application would be made to the Canada Community Building Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) and only cover costs associated with construction.
Councillors were concerned how the expansion fits into a larger building requirements the city is facing. The aging City Hall, Emergency Services, Search and Rescue, RCMP Detachment, Civic Centre, Marysville Arena and Fire Hall #1 all face extensive renovations and upgrades, or complete replacement in the years to come.
In addressing council, Chief Prasad said, “We’re trying to build capacity, we’re trying to do it in an economic way.” He suggested that building the three fire truck bays would get the ladder truck to City Hall instead parking it in Marysville.
He added that the bays would give the city “10 to 15 years” before having to completely replace the current fire hall.
We need a “modern separate facility somewhere between Marysville and the city,” said Coun. Kitto. He added the city would need to “bite the bullet here in the near future” when it comes to replacing aging city buildings, including City Hall.
Chief Prasad said any new fire hall needs to be in a central location so as to keep response times low; that means keeping it near its current location.
Scott Sommerville, CAO, said the end of June application deadline pushed the city into selecting a project, from hundreds of others, “that is closest to shovel ready and won’t cost the taxpayer.”
He also noted the city just “purchased a new fire truck which cost an extra $200,000 just to custom fit it into our tiny little Podunk fire department, no offence Rick, it’s [Fire Hall #1] 50 years past its time.”
Noting that the grant only covers capital costs for construction, “It will cost taxpayers some money for operation,” Mayor McCormick also suggested, as other councillors did, the need for a comprehensive building and facilities report outlining how the city’s building renovations or rebuilds would fit together.
“I’m just really really disappointed we don’t have that report in front of us at the time we make a decision,” he said.
Council unanimously defeated the proposal to submit a grant for the Fire Hall truck bays.
Marysville Arena Asbestos Abatement
Manager of Parks and Facilities, Nicole Halasz, requested council approve a budget increase for the Marysville Arena remediation. Lowest cost bids from two companies came in $18,807.44 over the already approved $37,300. The total cost is now $56,107.44.
The contract for abatement of the dressing rooms will be awarded to Stoic Construction ($43,182.00). Paulson Fire and Flood will conduct the CMU block wall remediation ($12,925.44).
Coun. Kitto said he would “not support the motion.” He said the building is “unsafe” and that it should be “condemned.” Spending “good money after bad on an aging facility that’s at the end of its life just makes no sense whatsoever,” he concluded.
Saying that the city would “have to abate this material even if we do terminate the buildings function,” Coun. Dallum voted in favour of remediation.
Coun. Roberts, Goodwin and Mayor McCormick all supported the request. The Mayor said, “We need to keep Marysville open for at least another season.”
Coun. Kitto and Oakley opposed funding the remediation efforts.
Council Meetings Re-open to Public
Since being closed to public participation from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents wishing to attend council meetings were limited to watching on the city’s YouTube channel.
Coun. Kitto’s motion noted the Provincial Health Office’s current order on gatherings and events permits public attendance at council meetings.
CAO Sommerville said the seating capacity of the chamber will be limited to 25 persons on a first-come first-served basis which means that “the 26th person would have to vacate,” he said. Seating will be arranged “to keep the two-metre distancing up as long as we can, but its time to re-open,” said Sommerville.
Public access to council meetings resumes in July.
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. The next scheduled regular council meeting is July 18.
e-KNOW file photos