Erinn Pinkerton said when the shovels first went into the ground to begin construction of Cowichan’s new transit operations and maintenance facility in 2018, she had no idea how good it would look.
Pinkerton, the president and CEO of BC Transit, said at the official opening of the $16.2-million project on March 6 that she is proud of what was accomplished at the 4.5-acre site located on Boal Road.
“It’s so rewarding to see the completion of this significant project for the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System,” she said to the applause of the gathered dignitaries and transit workers.
“Thank you to our government partners for your continued support and commitment to promoting public transit as a reliable and sustainable transportation option.”
The new 10,000 sq. ft. facility includes parking for up to 50 buses, three vehicle-maintenance bays, administrative space and on-site bus washing and fueling facilities.
A separate service island and an outdoor covered storage area are also on site.
The building was designed with future expansion in mind, allowing for the addition of a fourth maintenance bay and second-storey administration area, should they be required.
The project was first announced in 2016 as part of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, from which approximately 83 per cent of the construction costs were provided by the federal and provincial governments.
The remaining construction costs were covered by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, while land and other costs not eligible for PTIF funding were shared by the province and the CVRD.
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, said the facility is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when governments work together.
He also said the facility is bigger and more interesting than what he had first envisioned.
“It’s a fantastic facility and it will go a long way to assist the people who work and live in the Cowichan Valley,” Routley said.
“Public transit is a key service that gets us out of gridlock and makes our neighbourhoods more affordable, accessible and inclusive. It also reduces traffic congestion and greenhouse gases. When I grew up here, the only buses we saw were school buses, so I’m happy to see this.”
Aaron Stone, chairman of the CVRD, said BC Transit’s maintenance workers in the Valley were working out of a less than ideal location for some time, and thanked senior levels of government for their support in building the new facility.
“It was a pleasure to work with BC Transit to complete this major infrastructure project that will serve the needs of our region for decades,” Stone said.
“Every aspect was designed with the future in mind, enabling us to transition our fleet to cleaner fuels and scale up the facility as we expand service and ridership.”