CANMORE – The Town of Canmore is looking at the spatial and operational challenges facing its one and only fire hall in the community.
According Canmore Fire-Rescue Fire Chief Walter Gahler, a consultant team has been selected to study the community’s fire hall, with consideration given to all possible scenarios for the future.
Gahler said growth in Canmore over the past 20 years, as well as future growth and space constraints at the current location, are all factors driving the need to study the department’s spatial needs.
“The idea is that we have with this is to look at all the options for siting and response areas … literally everything,” he said. “(The consultant’s) responsibility is to do the analysis with respect to response times, call volumes, call types, spatial constraints and the challenges we have like the railway, highway and grades, and meld that into a series of recommendations.”
The project was put out for requests for proposals in February and March and a Calgary based company – Group 2 – was awarded the work.
The consultant will look at construction costs for a new hall, how much of the increased size is due to growth, timelines, location and the possibility of multiple firehalls in the community.
With changes last year to what types of offsite levies municipalities are allowed to collect from developers under the Municipal Government Act, the Town can seek contributions from new development for increased space needed as the result of growth.
The current firehall, located at the corner of Railway Avenue and 10th Street, was built in 1986 and since then the town has doubled in size to a permanent resident population of 13,000, with non-permanent residents around 5,000 and additional visitors in the community ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 on a busy weekend.
Canmore’s fire and ambulance services were integrated in service delivery until a few years ago, when Alberta Health Services took over providing EMS for the community.
A 2016 spatial needs study of all town facilities identified the building is too small to meet current and future needs. There are little options in terms of infill for the downtown site, thus the examination of a new hall, or multiple halls.
The size of the fire department has also increased in addition to the number of structures they protect. Then there’s the equipment, which has also increased in size as the fire department has grown and increased its areas of specialty training.