Arrow Lakes News
The bright orange building is hard to miss across from the BC Liquor Store, but for the last four years it’s been vacant and falling into disrepair. In 2011, the Nakusp fire department merged with ambulance services in the new Emergency Services Building and the village, who owns the structure put the 1949-era building up for sale.
In March of this year, the Arrow Lakes News reported that a collective had approached council for support in occupying the space for the purposes of a year-round market.
Instead of selling the building, a five year license to occupy the premises has now been signed. The group to take it over started as a few people interested in a multi-purpose community centre back in December of 2009. The search for space led to the fire hall and the possibility of repurposing the building into a collective for a year-round farmers’ market, community initiatives and other public uses.
“These things take time,” said Linda Kendall, Board Member of the Old Fire Hall Collective Society speaking on behalf of the group, “We started off talking about the idea and then looking for space and eventually came around to the fire hall.”
They call themselves the Old Fire Hall Collective Society and thanks to receiving funding from Job Creation Partnership (funded in whole or part by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia) their vision is about to become a reality.
Beginning November 17 work will include stripping out the interior, modifications to the heating system, plumbling, wiring and an external facelift. Three eligible local people will be participating to gain work experience in construction and carpentry. Those spots are available _ contact Nakusp WorkBC Employment Services, (250) 265-3318 for more information.
In addition to a market for local produce and handmade goods, other organizations such as The Mirror Theatre and Nakuspinners (weavers) have expressed interest in sharing the space, though nothing has been finalized. Eventually, the goal is to have a commercially certified kitchen to support local food production and incubate small business ideas requiring such a space.
Kendall emphasized, “This project could not have happened without the participation of WorkBC and the Job Creation Project and we are very grateful for that.”