Construction of Victoria’s New Public Safety Building Reaches Key Milestone
April 13, 2021
Victoria’s new state-of-the-art, post-seismic Fire Hall and Emergency Operations Centre on Johnson Street has reached an important construction milestone with level one concrete pouring now complete for the six fire hall apparatus and two ambulance bays.
In a first for the region, the 12-storey building will include 130 purpose-built affordable homes for low- and moderate-income seniors, families and individuals. With funding from BC Housing, Pacifica Housing will own and operate the top eight storeys of the building. This new housing is part of more than 3,000 new affordable homes either completed or underway in the Capital Region by the Province, including more than 900 underway in Victoria.
The new 41,700 square-foot downtown facility replaces the current 26,700 square-foot fire headquarters building on Yates Street that has served the citizens of Victoria since 1959. In addition, BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) has agreed to lease 3,200-square-feet of space from the City to operate a stand-alone, downtown rest and ready location for paramedics under a planned 20-year co-service agreement.
The new public safety building will meet new BC Building Code standards for buildings designed to remain operable post disaster. This means it will be built to a seismic design load that is significantly higher than typical commercial buildings. After an earthquake, the new building will be able to be safely re-entered and used to deliver emergency services.
The new Victoria public safety building is being built under an agreement reached with local developer Dalmatian Developments Limited Partnership, a Jawl Residential and Nadar Holdings Ltd. venture, as part of a new mixed-use development.
The City will pay $33.7 million to purchase and own the turnkey facility as part of the broader development.
This will be paid for through available funds in the City’s Debt Reduction Reserve. There will be no property tax impact and no grants required from senior levels of government. Under the agreement, the City made an initial refundable deposit, with the remaining payment made upon completion and acceptance of the facility.
Over the next few months, people can expect to see the building take shape. Construction is anticipated to be completed by early 2023.
(PHOTO: Victoria Fire Department Chief Paul Bruce, Mayor Lisa Helps and David Jawl tour the construction site.)
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps:
“Council has taken an innovative approach to this project. I’m pleased that we have reached this construction milestone and that the project remains on budget. We are one step closer to having a mixed-used development and a leading-edge public safety building that will serve our downtown and Victoria neighbourhoods."
Victoria Fire Chief Paul Bruce:
“Established in 1858, the Victoria Fire Department has undergone many changes over the years. This new Public Safety Building will introduce a post-seismic operational facility with a purpose-built Emergency Operations Centre, co-located with BC Ambulance and much needed affordable housing in our downtown core. Working with an exceptional and competent development team to make this multi-faceted concept a reality, is one of the highlights of my career.”
David Jawl, Director of Development, Dalmatian Developments:
“We are incredibly proud of our construction and design team. They deserve a lot of credit as they’ve not missed a day of construction, even though we broke ground just weeks before a global pandemic hit. The hardworking crew members on site, who can’t work from home, have adapted to these challenges and continue to move the project forward safely and efficiently.”
Lance Stephenson, BC Emergency Health Services, Patient Care Director for Vancouver Island:
“We’re excited to see this important milestone reached. Our Victoria-area paramedics are looking forward to having this new space where they can rest between calls. Given the centre’s ideal location, it will mean easier access to patients in the downtown area.”