Kaslo residents celebrated the grand opening of their new emergency services building Saturday.
The facility next to the arena is home to the fire department, search and rescue, and emergency social services.
“This is a great day. I’ve been waiting for this for ten years,” rural Kaslo regional director Andy Shadrack told the large crowd of firefighters, dignitaries, and citizens.
“It’s a wonderful facility for our needs,” said Kaslo fire chief Douglas Yee. He thanked the residents of Kaslo and Area D, who in May 2013 approved the borrowing of $1.2 million to build the facility, which will also serve Woodbury and Ainsworth. Construction began last November.
The old fire hall, built in 1971 adjacent to city hall, was meant to be a temporary structure. It was demolished last month. Former fire chief and current assistant chief Larry Badry said a 2009 operational audit found the greatest danger to Kaslo firefighters “was the fire hall itself.”
Terri Laybourne, whose husband was a volunteer firefighter and whose daughter is a current junior firefighter, said it “hurt her heart” to see the old fire hall go, but that it was time for a new facility.
“I want to thank the community for its trust, support, and most of all wisdom for investing in fire protection services, not only for them but for their children and grandchildren,” said Regional District of Central Kootenay regional fire chief Terry Swan.
Firefighter Eli Bukowski helped construct the building in which he will serve. “I’m really happy to be part of this,” he said.
“This is what happens with co-operation,” said MP Alex Atamanenko. Federal monies were included in the construction.
“We got ‘er done,” said Kaslo mayor Greg Lay, who sported a ball cap that said “Git-r-done.”
RDCK vice-chair Lawrence Chernoff said the collaboration between the village and regional district is “a success story.”
The opening coincided with Fire Prevention Week in BC.
Anybody looking to volunteer should call 250-353-2314 or email kaslofire(at)netidea.com.