It’s been a long time coming. For the last 2-years, leaky areas of Seabird Island Community School’s roof have been covered with tarps – providing a short-term fix to a long-term problem. It wasn’t a pretty solution, but it gave Seabird time to seek funding to replace the aging cedar shingle roof.

“We started that process in 2014. We were talking to the architect at that point, we knew the roof needed to be replaced. The School was built in 1991, at that point it was 23 years old and the roof was starting to display some serious wear and tear,” explained Councillor Stacy McNeil who holds the Education portfolio.

There was a lot to consider before the project could move forward back in 2014. Seabird began seeking quotes on replacement options. “We looked at the way it is now with the cedar shingles, then we looked at asphalt shingles, tin and the different options,” said Stacy. But the architect was firm in his belief that the cedar aesthetics be maintained as part of the design. The cultural significance of cedar to our community led Seabird to agree with the architect and commit to replacing the shingles with new cedar ones. Once that decision was made and costs were established, Seabird began approaching funders and in 2016, the project received funding from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to replace the 37,600 square foot cedar shingled roof.

Much of the roof will remain the same, except for one small detail, according to Greg Cross, Director of Public Works, Custodial and Housing.

“The design will still remain the same with some enhancement for better insulation.”

Crews officially began July 18 and Councillor Stacy McNeil was excited to see work get underway.

“It’s been 26 years since the School was built – we moved in May of 1991,” said Stacy who remembers that day clearly. “I remember packing our desks across the field from the Old School. The School has been a huge part of our community for a long time and we’re proud of it. I’m glad that we’re able to take care of it.”

Keeping work close to home was also an important consideration.

“Giving the work to the trained people we have locally, having them work in our local businesses is key,” explained Stacy. So, Seabird called upon Stqó:ya Construction to partially manage the project with crews from Fraser Valley Roofing. Stqó:ya will be providing project management as well as ensuring that Band Members are working on the project.

Maintenance isn’t just a one-time task, it’s an on-going one that can be planned years in advance. A replacement reserve is being created to cover the costs of future replacements.
The project will take the rest of the summer. It should take roughly two months to complete, dependent on weather and unforeseen issues.