September 21, 2016 - 10:32 AM
KAMLOOPS - Kamloops Fire Rescue’s new burn tower plan is going from concrete to steel.
The new firefighting centre to be built at the public works yard on McGill Road will now feature a steel burn tower after council gave the go ahead yesterday, Sept. 20. The structure will cost the city $575,000.
The new firefighter training centre is being planned as part of the conditional sale of city land to B.C. Hydro. The crown corporation is planning to build a substation at the site of the old fire training centre. As part of the deal, B.C. Hydro has agreed to rebuild the centre for $2.9 million.
City administration brought forward a plan to build a different burn tower than planned in the agreement with B.C. Hydro. City safety director David Duckworth told council upon reviewing the options, the steel structure is a better option than the originally planned concrete structure. However, the steel structure requires the city to pitch in the extra funds.
“During the time this transaction was happening we visited sites,” Duckworth says. “It’s only now that we’re confident this is the way to go.”
The steel structure has a few benefits, Duckworth told councillors, including cleaner burning, less smoke and toxins, cheaper maintenance, it's safer and more popular with other fire departments looking to train their firefighters.
The new burn building will help draw revenue to the city. Currently around $100,000 is earned through the current centre as regional fire departments train in Kamloops. The money stays in the firefighters’ budget to help offset the costs of the training centre. A new, steel burn building could be an opportunity to help draw in more departments.
Other costs have increased for the fire training centre as well, necessitating a total contribution from the city of $750,000. The main increase aside from the burn tower is the cost of an onsite classroom. Originally planned to be a portable structure, like the current classroom at the burn centre, costs have increased to the point city administration suggested building a permanent structure.
“We made the best estimate we could, we hit it on everything else, but on the buildings we missed,” city CAO David Trawin told council.
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