Fire Board deciding what to do with Old Fire Hall #1

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 18 2016

The Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District Board is facing a decision on what to do with the old Fire Hall #1.

At the latest Fire Board meeting, Fire Chief Rick Jackson said that this past summer he had started seeing signs that water is getting in through the building’s exterior.

The decision facing the Board is, “let it continue to rot, or knock it down, fix it, or what?”

As Board members pointed out, the new fire hall was built to replace the old hall, which had noticeable issues even before the new hall was built.

Mark Noyon, Board Chair, said part of the reason “we got out of there is the beams were delaminating.”

As the discussion involved a land use issue, the Board moved to take the conversation in camera for further deliberation.

After the meeting, the statement given to the Sounder was that nothing was happening as the issue was still under discussion.

Cell coverage improvement

The Fire Board also discussed whether there was a need to have a cell tower put up - though a specific location like the fire halls was not stated.

Fire Chief Rick Jackson said the department has been talking about a tower for a while.

Trustees noted the telecommunication companies do not seem interested in putting up any more towers.

Trustee Paul Champion said a set of micro towers like the one at Silva Bay would be an improvement.

Trustee John Hudson asked if the cell companies have a way to boost the signal of the existing towers.

“When the power was out the first day, cell phone was terrible. On the second day the signal was better; the [Telus and Shaw] cables hadn’t been connected yet. 

“I was wondering if that indicated that Telus has the ability to boost the signal. There may be reasons they don’t do this on a regular basis.”

Mark Noyon, Board Chair, said even when everything is working, coverage is pocketed.

“If there’s an incident in one of those areas that is not covered, there is a delayed response to get to that site.

“In the summer at the far end of the tunnel, it’s going to take five minutes to get a call out, and then our guys respond.”