2003 FIRE PROTECTION UPDATE
The summer of 2003 will likely go into the BC record books as the worst forest fire season in the past 100 years. It is also a reminder of the vulnerability faced by communities at the interface with forested areas. For the past six years, Council has made fire protection capital expenditures a priority, and my report this month is an update to the community on the fire protection projects presently underway.
In 1998 the Village acquired a Crown Land lease located at the southeast (top) end of Tatlow Road and completed Phase One of the Tatlow Road fire hydrant system with installation of a 50,000-gallon storage tank connected to the first hydrant at Main Avenue. In 1999 Phase Two of the Tatlow Road system was completed, which is the “backbone” water line down Tatlow Road to provide hydrants at Bedwell Bay Road and Marine Avenue. Also completed as part of Phase Two was the extension along Bedwell Bay Road that provided fire hydrants at Watson Road and Senkler Road.
The engineering design for Phase Three of the Tatlow Road water main system along Marine Avenue from Tatlow Road to Young Road was completed in 2001, and construction of the section from Tatlow Road to 3752 Marine Avenue was completed in the summer of 2002. Work on the section from 3752 Marine Avenue to Young Road is scheduled for the summer of 2004. The engineering design for Phase Four of the Tatlow Road system along Marine Avenue from Young Road to West Road has started, and work on that section of the water main system is scheduled for the summer of 2005.
In 1999 Council also acquired a license from GVRD Parks to locate water storage tanks on park property, and was able to complete Phase One of the Dutchman’s Creek fire hydrant system. Phase One involved installation of a 50,000-gallon storage tank adjacent to the Belcarra Water Users water tanks at Dutchman’s Creek, along with the first hydrant on Belcarra Bay Road at Salish Road. In 2001 Council completed Phase Two of the Dutchman’s Creek system that extended the fire protection water main along Belcarra Bay Road from Salish Road to Bedwell Bay Road, and also placed a fire hydrant on Turtlehead Road.
The extension of the water line from Salish Road to Whiskey Cove Lane to provide coverage to the end of Coomb Lane (Phase Three of the Dutchman’s Creek system) was undertaken this summer at an overall cost of $64,400. This work completes the fire hydrant water main system for the southwest portion of Belcarra.
As result of these fire protection initiatives, the municipality was advised in 2000 that the Fire Underwriters Survey reclassified Belcarra’s “Dwelling Protection Grade” from “Semi-Protected” to “Fully Protected”. As a consequence, property owners located within 1000 feet (300 meters) of a fire hydrant will realize savings on the cost of fire insurance in the range of $200 to $300 per year depending on the insured value of their home. While the primary objective of having a fire department and fire hydrants is the safety and protection of the community, it’s nice to also realize the added benefit of cost savings on one’s fire insurance.
Our fire protection “corner stone”, of course, is the Sasamat Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) which has provided an outstanding level of service since it started in 1977. The SVFD is debt-free, new training facilities were completed in 1997, and we are now benefiting from a long-standing policy of replacing equipment and vehicles on a pay-as-you-go basis. In 1998 the SVFD acquired its newest pumper truck at a cost of $300,000 fully funded from the Equipment Replacement Reserve, and this fall the SVFD will take delivery of a new “Rescue & Safety” truck, also at a cost of $300,000. Again, this purchase will be fully funded from the Equipment Replacement Reserve.
A total of $815,000 has been spent since work commenced on the fire hydrant water main system six years ago. It is anticipated that another three years and a further $400,000 will be required to complete these important improvements for the protection of our community. It is a large undertaking, but by applying a long-term perspective and planning for a series of projects constructed over a number of years, Council is achieving the overall objective on a pay-as-you-go basis.
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Village of Belcarra
4084 Bedwell Bay Road
Tel: (604) 937-4100
Fax: (604) 939-5034
Office Hours:Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm,
(excluding statutory holidays).
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