Backing off: Location for new Charlottetown fire hall not suitable

City will now continue looking for some other location in north end for a brand new firehall

Dave Stewart
Published on July 11, 2014

Google Street View of area on Capital Drive where city hopes to build a new fire hall. The undeveloped land is on the north side of Capital Drive, across from a new seniors home now under construction by the traffic lights on Sandstone drive leading into Walmart.

©Google Street View

The search is back on to find a location for a new fire station in Charlottetown.

The city announced in April it was going to spend $1.45 million to buy land on Capital Drive for a centrally located station.

The project has been called off.

“The site was not suitable for our purposes for constructing a new fire station,’’ said Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of advanced planning and priorities. “When we got on site and did our analysis there were going to be additional costs for our purposes. For what we needed it was not suitable.’’

That doesn’t mean the city is out $1.45 million. The actual sale of the land on Capital Drive was contingent on the site being suitable and the project actually going ahead.

The location in question is beside National Music, across from where Capital Drive intersects Sandstone Road which serves as an entrance to the Walmart shopping area.

The city had set aside $2.25 million in its capital budget to buy the land and pay for the design work. The intention is still to operate two fire stations in the capital city, the existing one on Kent Street and a new station closer to the north end of the city.

That means the fire station located in the former neighbourhood of Sherwood will close but not until the new station is up and running. The city’s lease for Station 2 in Sherwood is running out.

Coady said finding out the Capital Drive location wasn’t suitable is disappointing.

“I feel bad for the firefighters. I feel bad for all the staff who have put in so much effort into this project to get to where we are. That was our No. 1 site. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.’’

A fire station study was completed due to insurance requirements. That study indicated the need for a station closer to the northern section of the city, where the industrial park is located as well as expanding neighbourhoods such as Winsloe and West Royalty.

Staff has looked at close to 20 properties so far.

Coady doesn’t think it will take long to find a new site.

“Staff is actively pursuing another site and there’s some other sites that have come up and they are actively pursuing to see if we can come to some sort of arrangement there.’’

Coady said an alternate site would likely be close to the Capital Drive location.

“We want to stay in that general area, to the north of the city where development is taking place. We want to try and meet our response times (and abide by) national standards.’’