The local fire department and town staff celebrated the culmination of years of hard work at the grand opening of the Creston Emergency Services Building (CESB) on Sept. 23.
A large crowed gathered for the event, which included a march to the fire hall, a memorial for fallen firefighters with flag at half mast, a cornerstone ceremony from the Free Masons, speeches from local dignitaries, and the first fire truck drive through the building.
“I cannot tell you how incredible it is to be standing here before you, in front of this beautiful facility,” said Mayor Ron Toyota.
“The Village of Creston first formed a fire department on Feb. 21, 1899. This means that Creston Fire Rescue has served our community for over 120 years, and this facility has been built to last for the next 120 years.”
The deficiencies in the old Fire Hall were first addressed by town council in 2013. The building was renovated from an old grocery store in the 1980s and is outdated with missing health and safety features.
In the process of consultation and construction, council was met with opposition from community members, multiple referendums, the global pandemic, supply chain issues, rising costs of materials, and inflation, which ultimately led to a budget increase in early 2021.
After an initial unsuccessful referendum for borrowing in 2017, the original project budget of $6.35 million was adjusted several times.
The final costs to complete the CESB total $9.9 million. The breakdown of funding includes $4.5 million borrowing (as approved in 2018 through referendum), $1.8 million from BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), $1.7 million in grants (Canada Community Building Fund, Fortis and Province of BC) and $1.9 million from reserves (with some savings specific to the fire hall project).
“We spent many, many hours throughly exploring all of the different avenues, and this would not be possible without our current council’s unfailing support,” said Toyota.
Editor’s note: This article has been amended to reflect the total project costs of the CESB. I apologize for the error.