A year after it was built, the City of Whitehorse has officially opened its new downtown fire hall.
The building was finished in June 2020 with fire crews moving in around October.
The city held a short ceremony June 16 to mark the official opening with fire department officials, city council members and city staff on-hand for the event.
At 645 square meters and two stories tall, the building off Black Street features three vehicle bays, living space with three dorm rooms along with space for gear and washer/dryers specifically for such gear.
The site was previously home to the former Motorways garage with the original steel structure and some concrete from that being used in the building of the new fire hall.
It’s estimated that effort has saved the city approximately $350,000 on construction costs with the final cost coming in at $3.8 million.
Fire chief Jason Everett described it as a facility that allows city firefighters “to do what we do best”.
He said the fire hall is a “quasi-home” to fire fighters.
“They’ll likely spend more time within these walls than they do in their own homes,” Everitt said.
He described the structure as modern and efficient.
“This facility is a welcome upgrade,” he said.
The structure is part of the city’s overall building consolidation plan that has also seen the opening of the operations building and plans to repurpose the city’s former transit building in Marwell for parks staff. It will also see the city’s former downtown fire hall and a portion of city hall at Second Avenue and Steele Street demolished with plans to build a new city hall/services building and transit hub.
Throughout the ceremony, officials praised those involved in the project including the late architect Charles McLaren, contractor Ketza Construction Ltd., its subcontractors and a number of others involved.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Everitt said the fire hall has capacity for up to five firefighters to work at one time, though there are typically three. There is always a minimum of two working out of the fire hall.
Mayor Dan Curtis also addressed officials on-hand at the meeting, commenting it’s hard to believe the old fire hall lasted 53 years and pointing out there’s three bays instead of two and the building is built to high efficiency standards.
He said he’s looking forward to seeing the Whitehorse Fire Department have many years in the building.
While the building’s many new features were highlighted, during a tour of the structure, Everett also pointed to a number of features that have made their way from the original fire hall.
A historic telephone in the living quarters, along with a sign for Fire Hall No. 1 came from the now-closed hall on Second Avenue next to city hall.
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