More than 60 years after an unused wood shed at what’s now Bowen Court became Bowen Island’s first fire hall, ground broke (ceremonially) on the new fire hall and emergency operations centre not a kilometre away March 22.
A selection of councillors, members of the Fire Hall Facilities Steering Committee and Liberty Contract Management attended the brief photo op at the Miller Road site.
“It is a bit unbelievable,” said Cro Lucas afterward. He’s been on the fire hall committee since 2009. “You reach a point where you say to yourself it’s just never going to happen.
“But it has to happen because it’s such a critical thing.
“This is an awesome thing,” said Mayor Gary Ander. “Considering the amount of time that’s been spent getting this to where it’s at.
“It’ll be nice to have a new home for the volunteer firefighters – they have some pride in their operation here,” said Ander.
“And the building won’t fall down if there’s an earthquake,” added BIM Coun. Alison Morse – she was there when the fire hall committee was struck in the early 2000s.
After a 2001 seismic study found that the Grafton Road fire hall, built in 1969 on land the Davies family donated and expanded from two to four bays in 1977, would likely fail during a moderate earthquake, the search was on for solutions. In 2011, BIM built the Adams Road satellite fire hall and in 2017, Bowen Islanders agreed 81 per cent in favour of borrowing up to $3 million for a new fire hall.
A fire hall design proposed in 2018 came in millions over budget during the tendering process but BIM awarded the contract for a much simpler but still post-disaster building last year.
The $3.7 million project has seen local controversy over cost and location of the building (on the desirably flat Lot 3 of the Community Lands).
The building drawings for the site are now available.
Anticipated occupancy is late this year, says the BIM website.