The Sylvan Lake Fire Hall, located at 4301-47 Ave, sold earlier this week after having been for sale less than two weeks.
While Town staff are currently unable to release details of who bought the former location, they did add they are thrilled to see the new fire hall currently under construction making exceptional progress.
Built in 1996, the current fire hall has three large bays and one smaller bay but the building itself is no longer big enough to house the growing Sylvan Lake Fire Department membership.
The selling of the building, which is owned by the Town, comes at a perfect time as construction nears completion on the the new fire hall. Fire Chief Cliff Brausen stated during an interview with Sylvan Lake News he hopes to see the Department moving into the new building in early 2016.
The new building, located on the corner of 50 St. and Beacon Hill Drive, contains eight full bays, which Brausen explained will allow for the department to continue to grow.
“The detachment is very excited,” said Brausen. “We’ve been crowded here [in the old Fire Hall] for a while now, and the new building looks incredible with a really beautiful and interesting design – I think the members are really going to enjoy being in there.”
When the current hall was built in the mid 90’s the building allowed for a capacity of 24 members, however currently the department has around 30 regular volunteer firefighters. Brausen stated with this many members in such a small space it makes training more difficult. He added having 30 members means during training time the department was having to split into two groups to train in order to accommodate everyone, in turn doubling the time it took for training.
The new hall lists a project cost of $6,270,050 and in addition to the eight full sized bays will also contain a fitness facility for members, shower and locker spaces, as well as three office spaces – one for Brausen, one for Deputy Chief Steve Scanland, and one more an administration assistant.
The design of the new building, created by SAHURI + Partners Architecture Inc. out of Calgary, is described on the designer’s website as a contemporary interpretation of lakeside architecture influenced by the aesthetics of traditional docks, piers and boathouses.
Brausen said the need for a new fire hall did not come from increased call volume, but rather the increased diversity of the calls the fire department sees which in turn requires them to have a larger volume of members.
“We are no longer just a fire station, we go to motor vehicle collisions, medical calls to back up the ambulance, and it puts more demand on the fire fighters, so we are always needing to add more members to the department to ensure they get the rest they need, but the higher need for more members means we need more space to be able to train them.”
Currently the Department has three engines, one rescue truck, one rapid response truck, two squad trucks used by the Chief and Deputy Chief, as well as a water tanker shared with Public Works. The Town also hopes to order an aerial ladder truck in the coming months.
Dave Brand, Director of Public Works for the Town of Sylvan Lake, stated the project is both on time and on budget with recent weather delays due to rain only causing a minor delay.
“It is going to be a wonderful building in a fantastic location,” said Brand during an interview. “Right as you come over the hill on 50 St. you will see both the R.C.M.P. and Municipal Enforcement building right next to the beautiful new firehall – this means all of our protective services people are well situated and centrally located in town,
“It’s just something that we are going to be very proud to have, it means our fire department is going to have the space to train and learn as best as possible to protect our town and the surrounding areas to the best of their abilities to keep us safe.”
He added the Town is pleased to see the fire hall building sold as quickly as it did, to which he attributes is indicative of the quality of the building itself as well as of the neighbourhood it is in.