At the ground-breaking ceremony for the new fire hall Thursday were

At the ground-breaking ceremony for the new fire hall Thursday were

Ground broken for new fire hall in Qualicum Beach

New location will allow for swift response times during emergencies

Shovels hit the dirt on Friday in Qualicum Beach to celebrate a milestone in the new fire hall project.

“This council has made building this fire hall a priority,” said Mayor Teunis Westbroek, adding that the new location at 150 Rupert Road (by the roundabout) is well situated to allow for swift response times during emergency situations and to assist in mutual aid, among a host of improvements that will benefit the town and residents.

The ceremony marked the start of construction at the site for the project which has been in the works since 2009, Westbroek noted.

John Duncan was at the ceremony—the MP for Vancouver Island North and the newly selected conservative candidate for the Courtenay-Alberni riding—along with Parksville Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell. Among the crowd Friday there were a number of firefighters from around the region, Oceanside RCMP, and project contractors.

After town councillors and dignitaries put their shovels in the dirt, project manager Walter Hoogland brought over town staff and contractors to take a turn.

The new fire hall is slated to cost $5.5 million and is reported by town staff to be at the leading edge of energy efficiency and building technology.