For the second time in a year and a half, the Saskatoon Fire Department is solidifying plans to relocate one of its fire halls.
While it’s not a done deal, an agreement in principle has been made with the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to move Fire Hall No. 5 after 51 years of being located on Central Avenue in the Sutherland neighbourhood to College Drive.
READ MORE: Cooking oil cause of Saskatoon house fire
It’s a hall that currently responds to Sutherland, areas near the U of S, College Park, East College Park and is a hot spot of activity.
Fire crews from the hall respond to close to 900 calls every year on average, within four minutes or less at least 80 per cent of the time.
It’s also the second piece to a massive puzzle after the city evaluated ways it would be more efficient and use taxpayer dollars more effectively.
“The first component which we’ve started was Fire Station No. 3,” Fire Chief Morgan Hackl said.
READ MORE: Arson suspected in Saskatoon garage fire
By next June, Fire Hall No. 3 will move from Taylor Street to Clarence Avenue and Wilson Crescent better cover the city’s southeast.
It will also cause a bit of a domino effect because districts will change and it’s why city officials say plans to relocate Fire Hall No. 5 are also in the works so the city’s eastside is adequately covered.
“When we looked at the modelling again we saw that we could be more efficient kind of in the central east side of the city and if we moved this fire station from central avenue towards the university – we could take care of that.”
READ MORE: $1M fire at Asia Buffet deemed accidental
If all goes according to plan, Fire Hall No. 5 will move to College Drive and Preston Avenue North.
The actual price tag for the land has to be finalized, but Hackl is hoping once they’re given the green light construction will start sometime in 2018 and the fire hall relocated and operational by 2020.
If the deal falls completely apart, they still have other land options available near the U of S. The whole motivation behind moving both halls means not having to build a third station in Stonebridge.
“With that there would have been that capital cost of that building over $6 million,” Hackl said.
“Also the addition of 20 firefighters which in today’s dollars is over $3 million a year for our staff, equipment and the maintenance.”
This process of tweaking what’s needed and where will also never end. Officials are constantly revisiting data and response times as the city grows to ensure the safety of citizens.