Built in 1965 and expanded since, the Houston fire hall is now at the age where a replacement is being contemplated. (Houston Today photo)

Built in 1965 and expanded since, the Houston fire hall is now at the age where a replacement is being contemplated. (Houston Today photo)

Planning begins for new firehall

Current building too small for ladder trucks

The first step is being taken to build a new firehall here.

The District of Houston is advertising for a consultant who, in conjunction with District officials, will come up with a conceptual plan outlining the size of the new facility, where it might be built and its potential costs.

“The firehall was built in 1965, with several additions made to it over the years. Although it appears in generally good condition, there are signs of advanced aging in its structure,” explained District chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

Key to the conceptual plan is that the firehall be of sufficient height to house ladder trucks.

“The issue with the current firehall is it is both to shallow and too short to accommodate a ladder truck,” said Pinchbeck.

And that limits the Houston fire department’s ability to provide equipment for high angle firefighting.

The District is asking for proposals to be submitted by Dec. 19 with a view to awarding the consulting contract in January.

Aside from the building plan, the consultant will examine potential sites, examine road access to those sites, servicing requirements and traffic flow impacts.

The District also wants the building plan to incorporate energy saving design features.

Construction financing still needs to be determined but the cost of the conceptual plan is being covered by a portion of a grant received from the province earlier this year to aid the District in providing infrastructure.

Information on the District of Houston website indicates the current firehall was built in 1965 at a cost of $13,000.

Formed in 1957 as one of the first acts of the-then newly formed District of Houston, the fire department was first located in an old school building and later housed in a converted community hall.

The fire department, staffed by volunteers, now has three pumpers, a tanker, a rescue unit and a command pick up. Bids are now being sought for a new rescue truck with the goal of it being in-service by August of next year.