Saskatoon's Fire Hall No. 5 to be relocated to university-owned land

Fire Hall No. 5’s relocation proposal from Central Avenue in Sutherland to a site on Preston Avenue just north of 108th Street goes before Saskatoon city council Monday.

Fire hall scheduled to move from Central Avenue to Preston Avenue in 2021

Saskatoon Fire Department has looked at where to place its fire stations as the city grows, to ensure fire crews can respond to emergencies as quickly as possible. (Saskatoon Fire Department)

A proposal to relocate Fire Hall No. 5 from Central Avenue in Sutherland to a site on Preston Avenue just north of 108th Street was approved by Saskatoon city council on Monday.

"This provides a more optimal response model for the U of S and Varsity View; at the same time, maintaining responsive coverage to Sutherland," the report said.

The new site is situated on University of Saskatchewan property, which has agreed to lease the 0.8 acre parcel of land for $1 per year.

The proposed location for Saskatoon's new Fire Hall No. 5 is located on Preston Avenue just north of 108th Street. (City of Saskatoon)

The U of S board of governors has already approved the lease and just needs final approval from the Ministry of Advanced Education, which is expected by the end of July.

Once approved, a tender will be issued for the design of the new fire hall, followed by a construction tender and a contract award. 

Construction should begin in the spring of 2020 and be completed within a year.

The move comes from the Saskatoon Fire Department's analysis of where to place fire stations as the city grows, to ensure fire crews can respond to emergencies as quickly as possible.

Morgan Hackl, chief of the Saskatoon Fire Department, said the relocation is a "win-win." 

"In terms of our response model, it's really important," he said of the station's new location. 

Hackl explained the department has already seen benefits from the move of Fire Hall No. 3, which was moved from Taylor Street to a location near the corner of Wilson Crescent and Clarence Avenue, and opened in 2018.

"I'm quite confident we're going to see the same results," Hackl said. 

He said the Saskatoon Fire Department is continually looking for efficiencies and said this is a big one for taxpayers —when plans for the station were discussed in 2017, it was expected to save the city roughly $3 million a year. 

The new station, which will still be community-based despite being located on U of S property, will also help firefighters better cover the city's north central neighbourhoods. 

"It really does support us to serve not only the residents of Sutherland, but also to the surrounding neighbourhoods, which is Varsity View and the University of Saskatchewan."

He said it will also strengthen the partnership between the City of Saskatoon and the U of S as they work on more projects together in the future.

Saskatoon's Fire Hall No. 3 opened in 2018. (Victoria Dinh/CBC News)

The No. 5 hall is just one of a number of new stations on the fire department's wish list.

The department says it needs to replace its 54-year-old Fire Hall No. 1 and maintenance shop on Idylwyld Drive, and that it will need new stations in the Aspen Ridge and Holmwood neighbourhoods, and a third unspecified site.

with files from CBC's Guy Quenneville


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