3003 East 22nd at Nootka
From its position on a prominent rise in this eastside neighbourhood, Firehall No. 15 commands a view of the city and a special place in the hearts of local residents.
This well-loved community landmark is known for its striking hose tower, complete with brass pole, its Craftsman detail and distinctive bracketed eaves, its handsome interior woodwork and its ornate pressed-metal ceilings.
When talk began some time ago of replacing the 85 year old Firehall No. 15, local groups and community members banded together and worked tirelessly to convince city council to preserve this city-owned heritage building that is filled with community memories.
Victory for the community came on July 20, 2006. Council voted 10-1 to preserve and restore the firehall on its current site and incorporate it into the new firehall. The celebration was short lived.
In an about-face on March 1, 2007, city council voted 6-4 to demolish the building. The old firehall currently sits in political limbo waiting for a change of heart from one city councilor to breath new life into its deteriorating frame. A 2/3 council majority is required to overturn a previous council decision, and this technicality means that the building cannot be demolished until someone changes their mind.
Heritage Vancouver urges city council to “do the right thing” and restore its own heritage building. This is a great opportunity for the city to become an exemplary heritage role model and a leader in the field of heritage conservation by preserving this community landmark.
Update May 9, 2009: Council has approved retention of one of Vancouver’s last Edwardian-era firehalls. Despite our support of this initiative, we wish to express grave concerns about the potential approach to this restoration as described in the Staff Report. The description of the exterior work indicates a serious disregard of Heritage Standards & Guidelines, specifically the destruction of exterior features and their replication through the application of a new rain screen façade. It is too early in the project to make sweeping decisions about the approach to restoration. We strongly suggest that before any decisions are made, that there be sufficient investigation of the condition of exterior materials, and that every effort be made to retain, rather than replace, the historic exterior fabric.
Update May 12, 2012: Success! After appearing on our Top 10 Endangered Sites list for five times over the last dozen years, starting in 2001, the grand old lady Firehall No. 15 has a full new lease on life, restored, looking better than original (if possible!), and incorporated into a new firehall. Its grand re-opening was held May 12, 2012, just shy of it’s 100th year birthday.
Listed on previous Top10 lists: 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009