It’s been a long time coming, but Bradford West Gwillimbury will finally get a new fire hall after council gave the go-ahead for a $14 million redevelopment project involving a new station and public works operations centres.
“We can’t overestimate just how important this project is,” Mayor Rob Keffer said regarding the town’s redevelopment plan for Melbourne Drive and Line 11 at council June 19.
“It’s a big big project, but something our community is desperately in need of,” Deputy Mayor James LeDuc said.
“We’ve done a lot of capital expenditure for growth related issues and now we need to start looking at some of the services that our residents need.”
BWG Fire Chief Kevin Gallant said the new 2-storey, 19,000-sq.ft. hall, to be built at a cost of $6.4 million beside the current facility on the vacant town-owned 5.8-acre site at 75 Melbourne Drive, addresses current needs as well as accommodating growth in the community, in terms of location, response times and design.
According to the department’s master plan, the site of the new build is “almost in the optimum location for the urban area in regards to a four-minute response time,” Gallant said.
As far as construction timelines, Gallant said he’d like to see it built “as soon as possible because the department is really stretched thin at this point.”
While the new fire station can be built without any significant disruption of service to current fire operations, the town’s water and transportation services’ urban operations — also currently housed on Melbourne Drive — will be “significantly impacted,” according to the staff report tabled.
While the new hall is being built, the current operations buildings will need to be demolished.
As a result, $1 million is being allocated to build a new 12,000-sq. ft. facility for the water department at 3541 Line 11 as well as a second 12,000-sq. ft. building to store equipment.
Consolidating operations and equipment on to town-owned land will “provide greater efficiencies” by eliminating the town’s current lease costs for storage as well as prevent any disruption in service by fast-tracking construction ideally by October, the report states.
Under a $6.5 million budget, the old fire station will be re-purposed to house the transportation division’s urban operations centre as well as a rural works yard.
Construction on Line 11 is the first step, with an anticipated 2019 completion date.
Construction on Melbourne Drive is slated to begin next year and completed in 2021.
“We could probably pull the Melbourne construction off within a 12 to 16-month window,” the town’s director of community services Terry Foran said.
Since a good deal of the project is required as a result of growth, about two-thirds of the $14 million total cost will be covered by Development Charges, which are paid to the town by developers.
The project is the first phase of the town’s multi-year facilities initiative, which also includes a second fire station to serve the Hwy. 400 employment lands and Bond Head by 2022.
With town staff currently working in 10 different locations at eight different sites, a $35-million consolidated administration centre is also part of the long-term plan.