Fire

Community council OKs rezoning for new fire station on Old Sambro Road

Better response times, cheaper insurance expected for homeowners in area

The plan to build a new fire station on Old Sambro Road is on track.

The Halifax and West Community Council voted Wednesday to rezone three lots on the road, a key step before construction can proceed this fall.

Lots 2407, 2415 and 2421, which are currently vacant and undeveloped, were chosen for their location and size. A Graphic Information System (GIS) was used to look at all of the residential addresses in the area and decide where a station should go, said Roy Hollett, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency deputy chief director, after the meeting.

“The decision was made looking at the entire area,” he said. “It was decided to consolidate both stations into one station in a better location.”

There were two stations in the Harrietsfield area before a fire at Fire Station 62 at 1070 Old Sambro Rd. in 2015. Those firefighters relocated to Fire Station 63 at 180 West Pennant Rd. in Sambro. The station is smaller and designed to accommodate just two career firefighters, a small number of volunteers and two fire trucks.

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency leased a 60-foot trailer to accommodate the extra personnel. There are now four full-time firefighters there, as well as 24 volunteers.

Hollett said the new location will mean better response times. Most of the volunteer firefighters live around there, he noted. For residents, having a fire station nearby will benefit their fire insurance because they’ll have a better rating for fire response.

The worry of property value going down was brought forward at a community meeting held Nov. 29  at Harrietsfield Elementary School. Jacqueline Belisle, a municipal planner working on the project, said she looked into the issue and contacted property evaluation services.

“They were looking at how fire stations impact property values, and it really doesn’t make a difference in the assessments,” she said Thursday. “For insurance purposes it’s a reduction cost.”

She said there will be some siren noise, but the new station is expected to receive only about 150 calls per year.

While 152 properties have been notified about the plans for the new station, the planning team has received only one piece of correspondence back concerning the proposal, Belisle said.

Development and construction of the new fire station is expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million. The station will have four vehicle bays.

“Once we get the land, the upfront cost will be prepping the site and then the building itself we estimate about $1.2 million for every vehicle bay,” said Hollett.

Construction is expected to take about eight months.

The current station is set to be decommissioned when the new fire station is operational.