It was a joyous occasion in McLeese Lake.

(R Dyok, MyCaribooNow.com staff)

The McLeese Lake community gathered this past weekend to celebrate a partnership that will result in the building of a fire hall.

The Volunteer Fire Department and Recreation Society have signed a lease agreement for the pizza pie-shaped property that was once a rink.

“The community of McLeese Lake has worked so hard for so many years to make today happen-groundbreaking of the new McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Hall,” said Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes.

“It is an incredibly special day and the community has worked so hard. I’m just so incredibly proud to be here and proud of the community.”

Also at Saturday’s celebration that featured a bonfire, hot chocolate, hot dogs, and a DQ ice cream cake as well as raffle prizes was vice president of the Recreation Society, Rhonda Kolcun.

“We worked together strongly with the fire department and we love the relationship that we have and however we can help each other out we do that all the time,” Kolcun said with board director John Bard and secretary Lynne Rodier.

“So we’re happy to be here at this event today and know that it’s the start of something fantastic for our community, and hopefully this time next year you can come out and take a picture of the building.”

Fundraising efforts to continue…

President of the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department Ian Hicks said the land has already been surveyed for the future fire hall that they hope to have built by next fall.

Ian Hicks with Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes (R Dyok, MyCaribooNow.com staff)

“This part here, this old skating it’s really great because it’s sort of been abandoned and you can see there are cracks and things going but it’s an actually big paved area, and so when we do build the building we’re going to keep this, not wreck it, not chew it up. That way you can roll hoses out and dry them and wash things, and not be in the mud or the grass all the time. You don’t have to mow it.”

Because it is a lakefront property with access to unlimited water, Hicks added they hope in the future to be able to conduct ice rescue training and even get a fireboat.

Hicks estimates the fire hall will cost $560,000 and said the Department has so far secured around $197,000 through fundraising efforts, grants, and donations.

“There’s a couple of one-time capital expenditure grants that we might be able to get and there are some very nice community members that have said that they will help us out with some donations and Gibraltar Mines has indicated they’re interested too,” Hicks said.