The City of Burnaby appears to be moving up its timeline for the construction of a long-awaited fire station at Simon Fraser University.
The city announced Thursday it is working with the university on a memorandum of understanding for the east end of Discovery Park, at the corner of Tower Road and University Drive.
Subject to a feasibility study and approvals from SFU, work on the new fire hall will begin “before 2024,” according to a city news release.
The city approved $1 million in October for the feasibility study and phase 1 design for the new fire station.
At that meeting, Coun. Sav Dhaliwal asked staff whether the timeline presented – which didn’t call for construction to begin until spring 2024 – could be moved up.
“This is 2021,” he said. “I’m hoping that, now that the site is there, we know the need is there, that we move onto design pretty quickly and get some aggressive scheduling for this because the (Burnaby Fire Department 2019 Needs Assessment) did say that the (response times) generally (don’t) meet our standard time to serve the community, so there is some urgency to it.”
Staff responded by saying it “could provide that information to council.”
External consultants have identified a need for a fire station atop the mountain for nearly 20 years, and the comprehensive review of the Burnaby Fire Department released in April 2020 listed a new SFU fire hall under “immediate needs” (2020-2022).
In July, the federal government announced a commitment of $30 million towards the project through Pacific Economic Development Canada.
“The community on Burnaby Mountain has been rapidly growing and we’re enhancing our emergency capacity to respond to that growth,” Mayor Mike Hurley said in the release Thursday. “People live, work, study and play on Burnaby Mountain, and it is essential that we have the capacity and infrastructure to keep up with the changing emergency management needs of the community.”
The new fire station will be planned, designed and constructed by the city in coordination with SFU, which is providing the land.
“A new fire station on Burnaby Mountain is crucial to maintaining a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community,” SFU president and vice-chancellor Joy Johnson said in the release. “We’re very pleased to see this project moving forward and are confident that, once completed, the new station will help keep the SFU and Burnaby communities well protected for years to come.”