Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is celebrating the official opening of its new fire hall on Monday.
AFRS Hall 8, located at 30811 Blueridge Dr. at the intersection with Blue Jay Street, was constructed to improve emergency response times for urban and rural neighbourhoods, said Deputy Chief Mike Helmer.
The new fire hall will cut down the time needed to attend to fires in the rural areas of Bradner, Aberdeen and Mount Lehman and should allow crews to get to homes within the urban Townline area within four minutes, said Helmer.
Designed by Chernoff Thompson Architects, the fire hall project was managed by MHPM and constructed by Pax Construction at a cost of $3.3 million, using a combination of traditional red brick and corrugated metal siding.
Public artwork on the front windows of the fire hall features Tree of Life, selected as a visual metaphor underscoring the stature and significance of the fire hall in the community and the Phoenix Rising to represent firefighters and others who have survived the impact of fire on their lives.
The traditional East Indian paisley stencil design onto the tree trunk emphasizes the vitality of the Indo-Canadian community in Abbotsford and in the area served by the fire station.
There was some controversy prior to the construction of the new fire hall.
Some residents from the Slater Ridge Estates complex across the street from the site had raised concerns about what the hall would look like, the loss of parkland and potential noise from trucks and sirens.
However, Fire Chief Don Beer said AFRS would work with residents to come up with strategies to mitigate the noise of fire engines and sirens, and design and landscape the hall to fit with the neighbourhood.
As part of its commitment to cooperating with the community, the AFRS hosted a neighbourhood barbecue for the residents on Thursday to give them a preview of the new hall that has been operational since Wednesday.
It was another step to demonstrate the new hall would be a positive addition to the area, Helmer said.
Around 120 seniors, children and families turned out to check out the spanking new station and talk with the firefighters.
"It was a wonderful evening. We got nothing but rave reviews on the hall, which looks quite traditional. People also like the open park area that they feel will have a positive effect in the neighbourhood," he said.
"I think it helps show we're going to be great neighbours."
- The official opening and dedication of Hall 8 takes place at 2 p.m. at 30811 Blueridge Drive. The public is welcome to attend the event.