Mudge Island granted $30K to construct building for firefighting vehicles and equipment

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, May 15 2018

The construction process has begun for the long-awaited Mudge Island Citizens Society (MICS) building, where Mudge Islanders will be able to store their firefighting vehicles and equipment.

MICS has been approved for BC Community Gaming Grant funds in the amount of $30,118.

MICS is to match this amount and all funds are to be spent on a building to house all of their firefighting and emergency services equipment.

A three-bay, 50-foot wide, 40-feet deep, 2,000 square foot building has been ordered and a deposit paid.

Scott Flemming, in an emailed update to Mudge islanders, said, “Our goal is to have the building onsite to Mudge late July or early August with hopes of starting the erection soon after.

“We certainly could not have done any of this without the huge support from the community.”

Project coordinators are Flemming, Philip Parsons and Chad Giesbrecht.

Flemming said the origins of MICS go back over 30 years.

The original group was called M.U.D.G.E. (Mudge United Defending the Gulf Environment).

“Our first ever fire truck came from Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD) when they retired their 4x4 bush truck.

“The story as I understand it was the Gabriola Fire Chief, Rick Jackson, witnessed from Brickyard Beach a cabin burning on Mudge with no means to fight it.

“He got together with a few locals on Mudge and put a plan in place to transfer ownership of a soon-to-be retired truck to citizens on Mudge.”

MICS has since then purchased another soon-to-be retired truck from GVFD and a tanker from Columbia Fuels.

“The grassroots organization M.U.D.G.E. was a uniting force put together by concerned citizens to deal with many issues on the island, not just firefighting. Over time, this group evolved into M.I.C.S. which became a registered non-profit society with charitable status. The sole purpose of M.I.C.S. is to provide support for fire prevention, firefighting equipment and emergency services on Mudge Island.”

Giesbrecht said he showed up in 2003 when there was a truck and a of couple pumps, and “some very good people working to maintain and operate this equipment. 

“Since then the big push has always been to get the equipment indoors and out of the weather.”

MICS now has the three trucks, more pumps, more hose, water storage in multiple locations, and a couple of years ago the Society purchased property. 

“We wanted to apply for lottery funding for our building, but understood that we needed to own the property before we could qualify. 

“What we have so far is a community effort. We have gotten this far on donations. As well, we have had excellent support from other entities such as the Regional District of Nanaimo; [they] have certainly helped us out with smaller projects.”

The Gabriola Fire Department, Islands Trust, BC Forest Service, and local businesses have also contributed to the MICS efforts.

Giesbrecht noted that, “We are not a fire department. Mudge Island Citizens Society is ‘in support of emergency services.’”

“We do our best as a community to purchase and maintain fire and emergency equipment for the island. And we do our best to come together as a group to handle situations as they occur to the best of our ability. 

“We have fostered relationships with outside emergency support that have proved very useful.”