Canmore’s fire department has been given notice to vacate its fire hall in Three Sisters Mountain Village by the end of the month.
Deputy chief administrative officer Lisa de Soto said the owner of the residential property advised the Town verbally during 2010 that he would like to charge rent for the hall at market rates.
Up until recently, the municipality had rented the home at $1 a year and paid for the operational costs of the station.
However, in December, the Town received written correspondence from the owner, an Alberta numbered company owned by Blair Richardson and Don Taylor, he would like to take possession as of Feb. 1, 2011.
“We did receive a letter in December from the owner of the building saying it was their desire to take possession of the facility at the end of January,” de Soto said. “We are in the process of a legal review of the lease documents and development agreements in order to respond.”
She said even if a new lease were negotiated at market rates, the cost would be unsustainable.
But de Soto added it came as a surprise to the municipality that Richardson was in fact the owner of the hall at 101 Dyrgas Gate as the facility had been leased from the developer TSMV after its construction in 2003.
Calls to Richardson by the Outlook were not returned by press deadlines.
The fire station is actually a residence with an oversized garage in which a mini-pumper is stored, along with the Sustainable Resource Development rescue boat.
While the town has piloted different staffing scenarios at the hall during peak season, it is currently unmanned, although it could have a firefighter dispatched to it directly.
“We do not expect response times to that area to be impacted with the closure of that hall,” de Soto said.
The fire hall was part of the approval in 2000 of the Three Sisters Creek subdivision.
At the time, the developer had several options, including providing a temporary fire hall, installing sprinkler systems in all residential buildings or increasing distances between residential buildings.
The decision was made for an intermediate fire hall to be built until a permanent one is constructed as the development reaches build out.
With TSMV in receivership since February 2009, plans to complete the development have been on hold.
As a result of the notice, the Town has included a capital budget item in 2011 for an equipment trailer to be located at the main fire hall.
Because the mini pumper and the boat need to be relocated downtown, de Soto said other equipment in the main fire hall needs to be relocated and can be stored on site in the trailer.
The $15,000 enclosed trailer would be 18-20 feet in length and eight feet wide with a ceiling height no shorter than six feet with a rear cargo ramp and a door on the side.