Current hall and site
Current fire hall and site
The Ganges Fire Hall, centrally located in the Ganges Harbour, serves as the main fire station for the Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue service. The single storey wood-frame building was built in 1960, with a small addition in 1973.
Given the age and condition of the fire hall, two recent reports were commissioned to provide evidence-based assessments of both the 60-year-old building and the site, information that is critical for making informed decisions about the future of the fire hall.
- In 2020, the 2005 seismic assessment report (Herold Engineering) was updated (2020 Update, Fire Hall No. 1 Structural Assessment Report) and confirms the fire hall is not structurally adequate to safely withstand seismic loads for a post-disaster building. The 2020 report assessed the original report findings to current 2018 B.C. Building Code standards.
- The 2020 Fire Station Baseline Needs Assessment (FireWise Consulting) consolidates numerous studies and reports, and provides a technical assessment and recommendations on the condition of the current building and site, needs, and facilities, including options for possible relocation sites.
The reports conclude that the condition of the building and size of the site cannot support a modern fire hall, and it would be cost-prohibitive to bring it into compliance with the current building code and other legislative and regulatory requirements for fire protection and public safety. The reports identified both short and long-term challenges.
- In the long term: The site is not seismically sound – the building and the lack of a solid foundation make it unlikely to withstand a major disaster, reducing the capacity of emergency services to respond. The cost of a seismic retrofit, according to the high-level ball-park estimates provided in the Herold Engineering report is in the range of $1.5 to $2 million. This does not include the additional costs to renovate the building.
- In the short-term: Several critical building issues need to be addressed including repairs to the roof, ventilation, and electrical system to meet WorkSafeBC, Occupational Health and Safety and the BC Building Code for the safety of Firefighters and others who work in or visit the building.
Key deficiencies include:
- Ongoing roof structural problems and leaks
- Outdated electrical service, which includes two separate connections
- Presence of asbestos which complicates any maintenance and magnifies the issues around the leaking roof
- Termite damage
- Inadequate vehicle exhaust extraction system
- Mold issues caused by humidity and poor air quality
- Undersized apparatus bays
- Lack of appropriate decontamination space, necessary for turnout and other gear cleaning and maintenance
- Improper hose drying and storage (the hose tower has been condemned and is used for storage)
- Undersized site and location, inadequate for maintenance and maneuvering of fire trucks and other apparatus
- Lack of pilings to support the foundation
- Inadequate washrooms, office space and accessibility.