It’s either filled with a whole lot of gold or a whole lot of nothing.
That’s the assessment of Parksville Heavy Equipment president John Christie after workers discovered a hidden floor safe during the demolition of the Save-On-Gas station and attached restaurant on Friday.
One thing he can say for certain though is that the safe was completely hidden from view, floored over beneath the linoleum.
This was the second secret safe the crew has found in the last few weeks. The first, discovered during demolition of the old Thwaites Norris building in downtown Parksville, contained nothing but a mysterious key.
As Christie and his crew watch, the concrete containing the safe is broken by heavy equipment and then hoisted into the air.
A few bashes against the concrete smashes the remaining cement clinging to the tube and then the equipment operator picks it up and gently deposits it in the bed of Christie’s pickup truck. He plans to take it back to the shop to cut it open.
“It’s not too often we run into safes, but we’re two in a row here,” he said.
Although Christie is deeply curious about the contents of the safe, it’s not the only surprise he and his team have come across as they demolished the 1930s-era structure.
While one such surprise involved a hidden and long forgotten grease pit, another one simply walked onto the demolition site.
Warren Banks did much of his growing up in the building his father built. In fact, said Christie, he was actually born in it.
“He came down to the site with a whole bunch of pictures,” he said. “It was pretty interesting. He had a picture of himself on Corfield on a boat. That’s how much it had rained one time.”
The unexpected visitor wanted more than just to share his memories of the old building however.
He wanted some boards from the building for a keepsake,” Christie said, “so we cut some up for him.”
As Christie lays the metal tube on its side in preparation for driving it back to the shop, water gushes out — lots of it — through a deposit slot in the top.
At least it wasn’t empty. See future editions of The NEWS for more about the safe’s contents.