Fire station bell tower could be toppled

City to consider allowing bell tower removal on fire station No. 2 on Victoria Road

  • Jun. 9, 2017 5:00 p.m.

A bell tower could be struck from a historic former fire station.

Nanaimo city council will consider whether to allow the removal of a bell tower from Nanaimo’s old fire hall No. 2 on Victoria Road.

It’s a newer addition on the 124-year-old brick building, added in 1992. The applicant wants it removed based on the “very poor condition, appearance and overall structural integrity, a city staff report shows.

Repair work, previously estimated to cost $28,631, is currently being done to the building exterior. The City of Nanaimo has chipped in $15,000 for the makeover through its heritage facade grant.

Chris Sholberg, city heritage planner, said he thinks the bell tower was trying to pay homage to an earlier hose and bell tower that existed 100 years ago. It’s certainly not authentic to the original building, he said, adding there’s logic to say if it’s a problem structurally speaking, it should be something that can be removed. He also said there’s no issue with its removal on a heritage level.

“It doesn’t detract from any of the heritage value elements of the building,” said Sholberg. “It will esthetically look at bit different through not having that bell tower there, so there’s no denying that. So it’s more a question of … is that a desirable alteration just from an esthetic perspective, I guess.”

The application went Thursday to the city’s design advisory panel, which recommends council approve a heritage alteration permit for the bell tower. The issue is anticipated to be on the July 10 council agenda. A demolition permit will also be required.

Nanaimo News Bulletin