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New emergency centre moves one step closer to starting

Recommendations for a new emergency centre for Powell River have been adopted by council.

The recommendations were presented Thursday for the new centre. They include the need for a new emergency services facility, the location to be in the public works yard and to have a referendum question in the Municipal Elections for the fall.

They would also need to find a project manager to design and build a new facility that can cost up to $7.5 million. The project would need to start construction in the next two years.

The fire hall, however, is seeing some concerns from residents, according to a committee report from December.

While many recognized the need for a new fire hall, many were concerned about the cost of building a new one right now. They referenced the Consolidated Wastewater Treatment Plant as a project that is currently underway.

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The new facility, however, would not be a large ‘state of the art’ big-city facility, according to the report. Many residents said they would rather see a smaller fire hall, similar to the Village of Cumberland’s.

The hall would be built to address safety concerns with the current facility, according to councillor Maggie Hathaway.

“The current facility cannot be seismically upgraded and would not likely withstand an earthquake,” wrote Hathaway. “The three apparatus bays are too short to accommodate two engines with space in-between for personnel to move quickly and efficiently to the vehicles.”

She also mentioned that there’s not a proper place to store equipment and wash equipment after use.

The hall would give about 50 years of service, according to Hathaway. The Consolidated Wastewater Treatment Plant is a project that is expected to last around 30 years, a time span too long to postpone the build according to the council.

The recommendations were accepted as information with the council to be considered for a later date and added to a referendum in the 2022 election.

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