Volunteers in Coal Harbour took advantage of the brief window of good weather last week to lay the foundations for a summer picnic spot and the arrival of a new fire engine to the village.
The groundwork for the park project dates back three years to the previous CHLCC and was funded through a recreation grant from the Regional District of Mount Waddington.
At the waterside, volunteers were met by Shane Wiegerinck of PME and set to work laying concrete pads for a picnic table and garbage bin as well as a beach access ramp.
“The ramp’s been on the books for a long time,” said Andrew Hory, local fire chief, RDMW area C director and volunteer at the sites. “This is a high-activity area in the summer, it’ll be quite nice to see (the finished product).”
The area will be dubbed Catalina Lookout Point, named for the flying boats that flew out of Coal Harbour when it hosted a RAF base. The community club is working toward posting historical information at the site, including labels on the bomb dock remains.
Work then moved to the fire hall, where a form for a concrete apron waited at the second bay door.
The fire hall upgrade was necessary preparation for the impending arrival of a new engine, purchased in partnership with the Quatsino First Nation.
The engine, currently in transit, is expected to arrive in early April and will provide a huge boost to the local firefighters, said Hory.
The Rosenbauer engine was formerly a demonstration model, so the purchasing partners were able to get a brand new truck at a discount while benefitting from the optional extras installed on the show truck.
“We got some great stuff we wouldn’t have got, since it was a demo,” said Hory.
He said the truck will be a huge step up from the hall’s current engine, featuring an extended ‘Smart Cab’ and hydraulic ladder system among many other upgrades. The engine will become the hall’s primary pumper when it enters service although members will have to obtain airbrake tickets first.
Perhaps more significantly, the engine will be rated for the next 20 years, freeing up large portions of the fire department’s budget which would normally have to be set aside as savings to replace a used truck.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Hory. “For the first time we have a chance for a new truck. There’s been a feeling that we’ve been making do.”
The fate of the hall’s current engine has not yet been finalized, although Hory said that his vote will be to keep it as the hall’s number 2 truck.
Hory extended his thanks to all the volunteers who came out to assist in the work. “It’s been all volunteer labour up to this point,” he said. “It’s the efforts of a lot of people.”
In addition to the volunteers, Hory thanked Port Hardy Bull, PG Enterprises and J&M Welding for donations to the projects.
“It was definitely great to see the improvements to the community, and exciting to see preparations for our new fire truck that is on the way,” he said.