Construction for the Varsity Multi-Service Redevelopment project has begun, says the City of Calgary.
The project, which was first proposed in January 2018, will replace Varsity’s 46-year-old fire hall with a new multi-service facility that includes space for affordable housing.
The new facility will be approximately 83,000 square feet and include a new fire station, household hazardous waste drop-off, a 48-unit Calgary Housing development, city corporate accommodation space and leasable space. The facility will potentially include a child-care space in the future, the city said.
“You can’t be the number three city for livability in the world if you aren’t building projects like this,” Mayor Jyoti Gondek said at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday morning.
“I’m very proud of everyone who participated in this work. I want to thank the public for coming forward and telling us this matters to them.”
The redevelopment project comes after city council passed a motion in 2015 directing city administration to build more multi-service facilities on city-owned land. According to the City of Calgary, multi-use facilities will optimize the use of city-owned land and better serve the community.
“This is our first multi-service project coming out of the Integrated Civic Planning Program that got to this stage of development,” said Ryan Meier, acting manager of the city’s facility planning department.
“By taking an integrated approach, not only are we able to maximize the value of city-owned land and facilities but we are able to leverage these opportunities to provide more services and amenities to citizens when appropriate and needed.”
Calgary Fire Department Chief Steve Dongworth said the new fire station will also support existing fire and EMS crews and will allow for future growth.
“All of our fire halls need to be strategically placed throughout the city … A mixed-use facility along with a new fire hall will give us more opportunities to build more community relationships,” Dongworth said.
“We’re looking forward to this new facility to accommodate our growing needs.”