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$10M Peterborough fire station aims for net-zero on a brownfield site

Grant Cameron
$10M Peterborough fire station aims for net-zero on a brownfield site
COURTESY CITY OF PETERBOROUGH — An 11,000-square-foot fire station is being built in Peterborough, Ont. The station was designed by Lett Architects Inc. and is being built by JCB Construction Canada.

A new, timber-framed fire station that will use onsite renewable energy to cut operating and maintenance costs is set to rise on a brownfield site in the north end of Peterborough.

The 11,000-square-foot station, set to open next year, will replace the city’s aging North End Fire Station 2 at 1558 Carnegie Ave. that was built in 1968 and doesn’t meet the current standards for modern fire stations.

Renderings show a sleek, angular, single-storey structure with a flat roof and lots of windows. It will be the city’s first structure designed, built and certified as a zero-carbon building for performance and design.

The site, at 100 Marina Blvd., was home to the Northcrest Arena, a cement block and wood facility that was built in 1967 and demolished in 2022. Construction on the new, $10-million station began earlier this year.

The station was designed by Lett Architects Inc. and is being built by JCB Construction Canada with an anticipated completion date of fall 2024.

Builders are following the Canada Green Building Council’s zero-carbon standard. Materials being used have been selected to address embodied emissions during construction and achieve net-zero carbon targets.

Brendan Wedley, communication services manager at the City of Peterborough, explained in a statement prepared for the Daily Commercial News that a number of steps are being taken to reach the net-zero target.

“The building is targeted to achieve net-zero carbon through thoughtful selection of materials being used such as mass timber, reuse of salvaged materials from the arena that was previously on the site, low-carbon insulation, low-emitting materials and construction waste diversion.

“The City of Peterborough declared a climate change emergency in 2019. Building for net-zero takes us one step closer to the goals set out in that declaration.”

The building will have glulam beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) shear walls and roof. A full solar photovoltaic array and rainwater harvesting system will provide the net-zero energy certification.

Installation of geothermal wells at the site is also underway.

Contractors will reuse current grading from the existing building and site. Much of the ceiling material from the demolished arena will also be used in the new fire station.

Once the structure is completed, landscaping with low water demand will be used to lessen the heat island effect of parking areas. Canopies will provide shading for window areas of the station.

Builders are also looking at using wood cladding for certain areas of the building — and intend to use locally and regionally sourced materials. Light pollution from the fire station will be minimalized and the plan is to accommodate EV charging in future.

According to Wedley, construction of the fire station will follow the standard building process with footings and a foundation being installed. The main CLT structure and wall assembly will be fabricated off-site and craned into place.

The building will have two-and-a-half bays for vehicles and a small mezzanine. There will also be a single-storey area with six rest/study rooms, two captain offices, washrooms, a flex study/training space, living quarters and an exercise room.

“The building is designed in context to the neighbourhood with a nod to the mid-century modern esthetic,” states Wedley. “It has a flat roof that will accommodate solar PV.”

The Carnegie fire station will be decommissioned when the new one is operational. Peterborough Fire Services have been planning for a new Fire Station 2 for many years.

The present site is not large enough to accommodate a new building of a size and design that meets the current standards for operations. Due to the growth of the city in recent years, the station also is not in an optimum location for maximizing response times.

The existing building will be decommissioned as a fire station. What will happen to the building has not been decided.

A search for potential one-acre parcels of land to serve the north end of the city was carried out in late 2018 into 2019. Analysis of each potential site was carried out with a specific focus on emergency response times, legislation and industry standards specific to fire services.

The city had seriously considered two other sites — Inverlea Park and Sunset Park — but neighbours protested. Meanwhile, the city learned it was not allowed to develop any part of the parks under trust agreements.

The current site was approved by city council in April 2021 following a detailed site study and public consultation process.

Peterborough Fire Services Chief Chris Snetsinger said in a statement that replacement of Fire Station 2 is necessary as the needs of the fire services have evolved.

“The station has served our community well over the years, but because of its design it has become increasingly challenging to provide the services that are necessary from the existing station. The new station is designed and strategically located to support our community’s existing neighbourhoods and projected growth.”

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