VIDEO: Volunteers install viewing platform at Campbell River’s Tyee Spit

Most of work done off site in recent months to reduce eco-footprint

Rotarians and other volunteers were busy Wednesday morning putting the finishing touches on a new viewing deck at the Tyee Spit.

Rotary Club of Campbell River president Ian Baikie was on hand to help bring to completion the long-time joint project by the local Rotary Club and the City of Campbell River, among others.

“We’re happy to help the community in terms of providing a beautiful amenity,” he said.

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Other partners throughout the project have included DCD Pile Driving, Onsite Engineering, DKS Industries, Home Hardware, Az-Tec Freight, A.J. Forsyth, Upland Ready-Mix and Fastenal Canada.

With Dave Allin of Az-Tec at his crane, Rotary president Ian Baikie and project supervisor Jeff King guided the 10 nearly-two-tonne concrete-and-galvanized-steel slabs firmly into the place on the frame. They started about 8 a.m. and installed the last piece shortly after 9:30 a.m. Each slab measures eight feet by eight feet, to make up a deck that measures 16 wide by 40 feet long.

For the most part, the process went smoothly, though Baikie and King faced the odd bump putting the slabs in place.

“The worst part is trying to get them together because they didn’t want to go,” Allin said, adding with a smile, ” My part was easy.”

The volunteers started the night before by moving the crane and other supplies and equipment to the site, finishing around 11 p.m. This phase, though, only marks the tail end of a lengthy process.

“Rotarians have been constructing this structure over the last couple of months…. It’s been a long project,” Baikie said. “The city’s been very helpful…. They’re going to look after making it nice on the uplands side.”

If it does not look like a lot has been going on at the platform, that is because the work has been going on behind the scenes.

“The welding was done last fall,” King said.

Beyond the lengthy planning work with the city, the Rotary Club had been overseeing work on the structure since last October. Baikie says the aim was to do almost all of the construction off site in order to reduce the environment footprint at the spit.

“To make it environmentally friendly, we built it off site and brought it here, so we wouldn’t have any works happening over the water, save the dropping in,” he said.

While the previous deck was made of wood, Baikie said the choice of steel and concrete for this project will save additional expenses in the future by extending the lifespan of the structure and reducing required maintenance at the site. He expects it should last for more than 50 years.

A major problem of the old deck was rot, which had gotten into parts of the deck like the pilings.

“We think we’ve actually added value,” he said. “The whole theme here was to get some longevity out of it.”

If working off site reduced the environmental impact, it did provide the occasional challenge.

“I think the moving was the biggest part of it, how to fabricate it in pieces and then move it here,” King said.

The project represents a $50,000 joint effort between the city and Rotary, though Baikie said the initial estimate was higher because it had been based on a wooden structure. With the club’s involvement, the city provided $25,000 or half of the project, with Rotary and other partners chipping in with financial and in-kind donations for the other half.

This project provided an opportunity for the club to provide some “sweat equity.” Many businesses and individuals also stepped forward to help provide supplies or labour. For some like Allin, who has used his crane for other community efforts in the past like the “duck drop,” helping out is just routine.

The final touches at the site include the safety railing, which Baikie says will be installed as soon as possible, meaning the public should again be able to use the platform to take in the sights at Tyee Spit soon.