The long-anticipated major retrofit at the aging Mesachie Lake fire hall may soon begin.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District has applied for a grant of up to $350,000 for the project through the Canada Infrastructure Program – COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream.
This is the only grant requested from the CVRD for public safety projects under the program, and the CVRD expects to be notified in March if it will receive the funding.
Ian Morrison, the CVRD director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls which includes Mesachie Lake, said the project had to be “shovel ready” to qualify for the funding due to the short application process.
He said the work to retrofit the old facility is expected to be substantial.
“The fire hall is lacking in many things, including such basic standards as showers and decontamination areas, and it needs upgrades to its heater system and the building envelope itself, among other work,” Morrison said.
“It also needs back-up power installed to ensure it has the proper power generation so it can continue to operate during wildfires, power outages, earthquakes and other emergencies.”
Morrison said it’s unknown at this stage if the $350,000 grant, if the application is successful, will be enough to cover all the expenses of the retrofit project.
“It will be an all-encompassing project, and workers always run into surprises,” he said.
“But we’re hoping that $350,000 will cover our needs. It won’t be a Cadillac; it will be a Volkswagen but it will do the job.”