Construction of Mount Currie’s new community centre suffered a three-week setback when excavators discovered bones on the site.
Larry Miller, general manager of the Lil’wat Business Corporation, told Pique in an interview that excavators found the bones during a soil remediation. The remediation came because builders discovered remnants of a furnace leak from the old centre, which was torn down to build the new one.
“They found some bones that looked… close enough to human that they put a stop (to construction),” he said. “We have ancestral sites that could be anywhere, ancestral burial (sites). As soon as they hit that, that stops everything.”
Miller said the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police and coroners were called in to investigate but they discovered the bones belonged to a pig. The investigation nevertheless set construction back for a week, on top of the two weeks it took to remediate the soil.
Despite the setback, Miller said construction is moving along. The centre’s walls are “pretty well all closed in” and builders are currently putting the roof on the centre.
“All our windows should arrive on Monday and then our guys… are taking Christmas Day off and Boxing Day off,” he said. “We should have the windows by the first week of January, we should have the site closed in, then we’ll put heat in it.”
The opening can’t come fast enough for Greg Bikadi, president of the Lil’wat Business Corporation.
“To me it’s never going fast enough,” he said, adding that the front of the community centre is expected to come in on Sunday.
“It’s been a challenge, we’re a little bit behind.”
The community centre will be located in the centre of Mount Currie’s lower village in the same location as the last one. It’s expected to have a gymnasium, kitchen and band office, as well as council chambers. Currently the band council meets in a trailer.
The centre will also serve as an Olympic LiveSite and be equipped with audio-visual equipment to broadcast Olympic events to the community during the 2010 Games.
While a lack of snow has caused some panic in Whistler, it’s been a boon for construction in Mount Currie. Without a big snowfall construction workers have been able to put up the building’s skeleton as well as exterior walls and cladding.
“The lack of the weather has been great,” Miller said. “Last year, wow, I think we had snow right in November, right off the bat and it just hung around. Last year I know we were doing some work and we had to have guys shoveling snow. For construction it’s been good.”
Once all the walls and windows are up workers will be able to go inside and do some interior work. That’ll include installing a mezzanine floor, as well as electrical wires and h-vac heating ventilation equipment to install. They’ll work on the mezzanine first and then get to the other equipment.
The building’s shell started going up on Oct. 20 and builders expected it could have been completed by the end of November, but then they discovered the bones.
“Now we’re into the 15 th of December, so we’re running behind on the erecting of the shell of the building,” Miller said. “What happened is I think the erectors got some other jobs starting up, on the 6 th they were supposed to have a couple of crews here in between jobs, and then on the 20 th , only one crew showed up.
“We’ve got, of course, two projects going at the same time, so they’re competing.”
That other project is a grocery store within Mount Currie.
Currently Mount Currie residents have to travel to the Village of Pemberton to get groceries at outlets such as the Pemberton Valley Supermarket or AG Foods. With a grocery store in the community they won’t have to travel as far.
Miller said the grocery store building is up already and “almost closed in” and that builders are currently working on the roof.
“It should be all closed in as of today (Friday, Dec. 19), the cladding and the roof and everything,” he said. “Then we can start closing up the doors and getting heat inside there.”
Miller sees March as a likely month to open the store.