The long-anticipated major retrofit at the aging Mesachie Lake fire hall will soon begin.
The province and federal government are investing $350,000 to upgrade the fire hall through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s new COVID-19 Community Resilience stream.
Canada is contributing $280,000, and B.C. is contributing $70,000.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District applied for a grant of up to $350,000 for the upgrade project through the program in January, and the project had to be “shovel ready” to qualify for the funding due to the short application process.
Kevin Smith, Mesachie Lake fire chief, said the upgrade project will involve major renovations to the fire hall, including installing a new HVAC system, and major plumbing, electrical and mechanical works.
He said new flooring will also be installed, and upgrades to the kitchen, bathroom, and roof will be made to reduce energy usage and extend the service life of the fire hall.
Smith said functional improvements in the vehicle bay will also improve firefighter safety.
“This financial assistance is so helpful to the dedicated volunteers of the Mesachie Lake volunteer fire department,” he said.
Ian Morrison, the CVRD director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls which includes Mesachie Lake, said in January it was unknown at that stage if the $350,000 grant would be enough to cover all the expenses of the retrofit project, but hoped the funding would cover the needs of the fire hall.
“We’ve heard clearly the operation of the Mesachie Lake volunteer fire department is vital and cherished by this close-knit community,” Morrison after the funding announcement.
“This very timely contribution will allow the fire hall, a long serving and valued asset, to continue to serve the firefighters and residents well into the future.”
Aaron Stone, chairman of the CVRD, said the district “appreciates the support from the provincial and federal governments to increase the resiliency and efficiency of our infrastructure.”