The Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s hall on Faber Road will be decommissioned. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

The Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s hall on Faber Road will be decommissioned. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Sproat Lake Fire Dept. to decommission one of three fire halls

Two remaining fire halls will still maintain full area coverage

The Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department will be decommissioning one of its three fire halls after an independent review determined that one of the halls is “redundant.”

The Alberni‐Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) board of directors gave the Sproat Lake VFD approval on July 28 to amend their current three-hall model to a two-hall model by decommissioning Faber Fire Hall on Faber Road as an active fire hall.

The fire department currently has three halls—one located on Lakeshore Road, one located on Faber Road and the main Harold Bishop Fire Hall on the Pacific Rim Highway. Each hall has requirements for active members, apparatus and response distance according to the Fire Underwriters Survey.

A 2020 asset management plan identified “financial strain” on the fire department and recommended a review of the three-hall model to determine the feasibility of reducing the number of halls that service the Sproat Lake area.

Dave Mitchell and Associates Ltd. was hired to conduct an operational and response assessment, which determined that the Faber Road hall’s response area is “completely” overlapped by the response area of the Pacific Rim Highway hall, making the Faber Road hall “redundant.”

By decommissioning Faber Fire Hall, the department will avoid having to replace the hall’s Engine 47 this year at an estimated cost of between $750,000 and $950,000. Instead, the engine will be moved to reserve status.

The remaining equipment and manpower at Faber Fire Hall, said ACRD regional fire services manager Charlie Starratt, will be distributed between the remaining halls.

“Really, we’re not looking at losing any protection status,” said Starratt during the July 28 ACRD board meeting. “It’s saving some money in the long run and easier to manage.”

The Sproat Lake VFD’s smaller rescue truck will continue to be housed in and respond from Faber Fire Hall for first responder incidents. The building will be retained for training and storage.

“Change is not easy,” said Sproat Lake director Penny Cote. “We are one fire department with three halls. Nothing much has changed with the fire department. The members are all the same, the service is still the same. It’s just a change with the hall.”

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Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District