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New Powell River fire hall temporarily shelved

Powell River has temporarily shelved plans for a new fire hall.

City council agreed Thursday (Sept. 14) to sideline the project after construction costs spiraled out of control.

Acting CAO Chris Jackson told council the gap between authorized borrowing and construction costs is too great.

“There’s so many external factors going on with construction costs exponentially increasing. The most recent consultant’s report we have had the value coming in at $1,000 a square foot which is $19.5 million,” Jackson said.

During the last municipal election, voters okayed less than half that – $7.5 million.

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Jackson adds they were expecting to get some grants to cover the difference of the original estimate in 2018 of $9 million but now the “gap is too great.”

Many on council agreed to delay the project. Some believe putting the project aside will allow for input from the new CAO and fire chief. Others would like to explore other options such as including residential housing or rental space within the building or co-location with other municipal services.

While supporting the delay, Coun. Trina Isakson wanted to note the current conditions in which firefighters are living.

“The current space is not sufficient for our firefighters and in delaying this, which I support this report, but it doesn’t change the fact that the firefighters are currently operating is not sufficient to their needs and not sufficient to their training needs and even just basic storage of equipment,” Isakson said.

Coun. George Doubt added the hall is “unsatisfactory and inappropriate.”

Powell River delegates plan to bring the matter up at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM).

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