City confirms preferred site for Burnaby Mountain firehall, updates timeline
“The community on Burnaby Mountain has been rapidly growing, and we’re enhancing our emergency capacity to respond to that growth."
The City of Burnaby has identified a preferred location for the Burnaby Mountain firehall and has sped up the project’s timeline.
In a statement released Thursday, the city said the site—which is subject to a feasibility study and approvals from SFU—is at the northeast corner of Tower Road and University Drive on the east side of the mountain, and shovels are expected to be in the ground before 2024.
“The community on Burnaby Mountain has been rapidly growing, and we’re enhancing our emergency capacity to respond to that growth,” said Mayor Mike Hurley in a release. “People live, work, study and play on Burnaby Mountain, and it is essential that we have the capacity and infrastructure to keep up with the changing emergency management needs of the community.”
Construction was initially expected to start in the spring of 2024 according to a report to the city’s financial management committee. In 2019, the city started a needs assessment for the fire department, which requested the construction of a firehall in the Big Bend area and on Burnaby Mountain.
The city approved $1 million in October for a feasibility study and Phase 1 of design work. The study is expected to be completed in early 2022 and the city expects conceptual design and SFU-related approvals and a rezoning application to be completed by the end of 2022.
Burnaby Fire Chief Chris Bowcock has been a vocal advocate the need for a new firehall on Burnaby Mountain.
This summer, Bowcock spoke to the Beacon about the risk for fires near the tank farms on the mountain due to heatwaves.
“The greatest risk at this time would be the greater risk of grass fires in and around that facility, the greater accumulation of heat on metal surfaces that could cause ignition sources,” he said, at the time. “Those are the greater concerns.” He added that a fire would also put the tanks at risk.
Bowcock also stressed that funding the firehall was a federal responsibility. That came into fruition this past summer with a pre-election announcement from Burnaby North-Seymour Liberal MP Terry Beech and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, promising $30 million for the project.
—with files from Dustin Godfrey