With major sponsor Britco Structures having fulfilled its promises of supplying Write to Read with 10 modular buildings (a $250,000 donation) to be used as libraries in remote First Nations communities around the province, the challenge becomes finding new sponsors to assist in funding new structures. Westcoast Outbuildings, a North Vancouver company, may be the right partner to manufacture any new libraries for which funding is found. (www.outbuildings.ca)
Westcoast Outbuildings has been in business for 5 years, making a wide variety of cabins, studios, cottages, offices, guest houses and other small buildings that are inexpensive to manufacture and easy to move. Owner Geoff Baker heard about the Write to Read Project and has offered his staff and production facility to assist with the manufacture of any new buildings, once plans are finalized and funding found.
“We’ve been successful in business and are looking for ways to ‘give back’ to the community,” said Geoff, “and this looks like a way to do so.”
Geoff, along with Write to Read Project Coordinator Bob Blacker, estimates the cost of manufacturing a small building, transporting it, and then installing it on site at approximately $50,000. The main challenge with remote communities lies always in the shipping. Coastal First Nations may be difficult to access and usually require barges, although BC Ferries does dock at a few native communities. Interior shipping by truck requires pilot cars, and buildings need to be of a specific size to fit on highways and under overpasses.
“We’d like to be able to get involved once the exact needs are decided,” said Geoff. “We have a wide range of designs in our portfolio and can probably provide a building that works for the purpose needed. We are pleased to get involved.”
Baker and Blacker recently toured the admissions building at the Vancouver Aquarium, which Westcoast designed and built at a cost of $125,000. It may be possible for Write to Read to acquire the building for use as a library if the cost of purchase and shipping can be funded. The building has 10 work stations wired for Internet and would make a perfect fit for several First Nations communities on a waiting list.