An Alternative Affordable Firehall Proposal



A Rational Approach

In response to many questions from community members, Mayne Island Residents & Ratepayers Association has compiled the following alternate proposal for a new firehall for your consideration. MIRRA is in no way competing with MIID on this project but taking a different approach in presenting an alternate model for public consideration.

MIID has done the hard work of creating a basic costing, siting and planning from which we can now easily extrapolate the numbers and apply them to an alternate plan of construction.

This alternative proposal incorporates suggestions from the community and consultants which go all the way from current, back to the previous referendum and that have been applied to other districts’ new firehalls.

This alternative proposal is not intended to be exact but accurate within a reasonable estimate.

MIRRA hopes you will find this comparison between the two strategies interesting and informative.


MIID Proposal:

1)    Site Preparation- $224,750

2)    Temporary facilities, Moving and Storage costs, Interest, Insurance, Permits, Legal- $256,250

3)    Total- $481,000

4)    Building design, management & construction- $1,596,372

5)    Contingency- $316,161 (20% of building costs)

6)    Total- $2,393,533


Alternative Proposal:

1)    Building- $998,932

2)    Contingency- $199,786

3)    Upgrade and renovate existing building- $250,000

4)    Buy new land, site prep, insurance etc.- $168,300

5)    Total costs for new firehall-  $1,617,018

Alternative Proposal details:

Including the cost of buying 1 acre of the westerly property, upgrading, re-cladding and renovating the old firehall up to a safety standard including new administration offices, still reduces site preparation, demolition etc. costs a total-  $62,700.00

As a bonus we keep the existing water tanks and all infrastructure, and leave the school house where it is. 

Upgrading, re-cladding and renovating the existing building eliminates the need for 3,167 square feet of administrative area in the new building. This space would be accommodated in the upgraded and renovated existing building. This eliminates $506,720 in construction, design, and management costs of the new hall @ $160/sq.ft. and eliminates the need for 1,134 square feet of mezzanine area @ about $80/sq. ft. –  $90,720

Building costs savings-  $597,440.00

 Engineering estimated costs to bring old building to standard- $100,000

Estimated costs to close in old truck bays and convert to office space and community space, re-clad the exterior- $150,000

Contingency on proposed Alternative Building $ 199,786 @ 20% of building cost total contingency savings- $116,374

Alternative Proposal total savings estimate:

Total Savings- $776,514


Alternate Proposal loan interest savings over 20 years;

Interest Savings estimate- $300,000


MIRRA presents here a comparison for the new building if different choices and priorities are given more consideration.

More savings which can also be gained, for example:

1) Building a conventional 4 bay structure allows for simple and easy future expansion, if that is even ever required. The Alternative Proposal is based upon the current MIID 6 bay drive thru model because those are MIID numbers to which a comparison can be made.

 2) Parcel tax instead of an assessment saves taxpayers the quoted $8,000 per year in Government collection charges and utilizes more beneficially the $40,000 software program bought in 2013, for the Heath Centre tax collection. The firehall would just be a simple line item addition to that collection.

 3) A fixed-price quote as opposed to the current cost-plus estimate should eliminate the requirement of a 20% contingency, which in almost all cases will be fully consumed. In a fixed-price quote, any cost over runs are the problem of the contractor.

4) A drive thru garage is not critical. In cities where land is in short supply and halls are built on lots, trucks back into the hall from the street. In our circumstance, most of the time, the rear truck will remain in the hall on a call out, therefore, when the truck returns, it will be backing in anyway. Why use up all of our land creating ring around roads for an unnecessary drive through design? Why go to the considerable extra expense of a drive thru?

Certain cost items may have been overlooked in this proposal, as are also potentially more savings.

However, the projected savings of over $3/4 million are sufficient to warrant a serious look at the current MIID proposal.

The Alternative Proposal outlined here is not from MIRRA alone but also follows some of the recommendations of the Consultant hired by MIID in 2011. As well it utilizes methods implemented in new firehall construction projects in areas such as North Saanich, Port Coquitlam, East Sooke, and Saturna Island etc.

This Alternative Proposal might have been implemented had the MIID held the requested public meetings during their planning process. The following positive points are readily obvious:

  • The old school house need not be moved;
  • More land acquired for future expansion;
  • Added community space;
  • Saves infrastructural components of existing property which tax dollars have already paid for;
  • Better utilizes tax dollars and saves the community over $3/4 million;
  • All work upgrading, renovating, and re-cladding the existing building can be done using local contractors and materials;

Finally, this project can go to referendum this summer and commence work at any time and we don’t waste money relocating the fire department during construction.

 Please forward this information to anyone you know who may be interested, and check for updates on the MIRRA website: