Carpentry students from Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus are helping to preserve a piece of Cariboo history.
The lakecity’s first fire truck will be finding its forever home in a new building constructed by the students alongside the fire hall at South Lakeside Drive and Hodgson Road thanks to a partnership between the city of Williams Lake and TRU Williams Lake campus.
“It’s a great collaboration between all these different stakeholders,” said Williams Lake Fire Department (WLFD) Fire Chief Erick Peterson.
WLFD Assistant Fire Chief Trevor Schick is helping to oversee the project and said he is looking forward to having the truck – a 1947 Chevrolet Maple Leaf motorized pumper truck – at the fire hall. The truck, which was used for a number of years before being parked, then restored by the WLFD, is still on display at the old fire hall which is now the Central Cariboo Arts Centre.
Schick noted the joint project was made possible through the city and TRU partnership as well as community sponsors.
“The sponsors involved in the fire hall project have either donated 100 per cent of all the materials to the project or they have at least sold them to us at cost which has reduced the building cost by probably 50 per cent,” said Schick. “It’s huge.”
Mark Desautels, TRU assistant teaching professor, carpentry dept., said the project is a great opportunity for his carpentry students to gain experience and hours toward their apprenticeships.
“We can’t run this program without these kinds of partnerships and community support,” said Desautels, who noted Beth Veenkamp, the city’s economic development officer, got the ball rolling.
“The city stepped forward and gave us this opportunity and we jumped at it.”
Currently Desautels has eight students enrolled in TRU’s first and second harmonized carpentry program, which has adults and some high school students as part of the Youth Training in Trades Programs with School District 27.
When completed the structure will be 14’x32’ and completely enclosed with glass on two sides to display the vintage fire truck and keep it clean and secure.