Dan Atkinson is like a kid in a candy store walking through the new Victoria Fire Hall.
“It’s been an amazing experience and one that I’m really happy to be a part of,” says Atkinson, chief of the Victoria Fire Department.
The department has been slowly transferring its headquarters from the old location on Yates Street to the new seismically safe $35.9-million hall on Johnson Street.
Approval for the construction was announced in 2018, and the switch to the new location was much needed.
“The old fire hall obviously there’s a lot of nostalgia and memories associated with it,” says Atkinson.
The old 26,700-square-foot hall looks diminutive compared to the 41,700-square-foot replacement with all its amenities, from an emergency operations centre to a dedicated gym and full-service kitchen.
“I think it’s just a much nicer space for the public to be greeted to, and it’s really lovely living quarters for the firefighters,” says Lieutenant Fire Prevention Officer Emily Atkins.
Topping off the 12-storey building are offices and 130 affordable housing units. For those residents worried about the noise from the hall, that has been taken into consideration with the design.
“There’s a tremendous amount of concrete and very large pillars and a very large floor plate,” says Atkinson.
“So we aren’t experiencing any sound transferring between floors, even with our trucks running downstairs.”
The traffic impact has also been factored into the construction, with a specially designed traffic light control system that can be activated with a switch by crews leaving the station.
“Now that switch will stop traffic mid-block to allow fire trucks uninterrupted passage onto the street, and it will also turn the intersection green at Cook and Johnson,” says Atkinson.
It’s all to provide those who keep Victoria safe with better tools to tackle the job and make their workspace a little more comfortable.
Our new state-of-the-art, post-seismic Victoria Fire Department Headquarters at 1025 Johnson St is officially open! It’s a mixed-used development that includes 130 units of purpose-built affordable homes. https://t.co/vEat1CjSWs #firesafety #affordablehousing pic.twitter.com/KU3sWKherP
— City of Victoria (@CityOfVictoria) April 26, 2023