One of the issues always faced by a neighbourhood is that of change. Most people are afraid of change and yet it is change that encourages us to move forward and keeps our neighbourhoods thriving. Here in Departure Bay we have always faced change as a collaborative effort, working with builders, developers, the city and others to effect changes that work for everyone.
The area has faced many changes over recent years. We have seen houses demolished and rebuilt, homes renovated and re-decorated.
We have seen developments, some welcome and some not so welcome.
We have seen businesses opening and closing. We have seen neighbours come and go. Change has taken many faces - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Last Saturday morning we saw the ugly and sudden side of change - a large fire in the iconic Amrikko's building caused many of us to be awakened by the sound of sirens piercing the morning quiet.
Altogether, there were three fire trucks, a fire rescue truck and an ambulance. Even the Harbour Patrol boat put in an appearance.
As a close neighbour of the building, I watched in horror as smoke poured out of the structure. Luckily, all the residents in the upper floor escaped unscathed.
What was most interesting was to see the fire department at work.
I can say that when those men and women are doing the job they are trained to do ,we can all heave a gigantic sigh of relief that such expert help is close by.
The two words that sprang to mind as I watched were bravery and organization.
The whole operation worked like a fine-tuned machine.
Supervisors ensured that everything was in its correct place. Active firefighters clearly knew exactly what to do.
When oxygen cylinders were called for the tarp was laid out, cylinders brought and laid in a row and firefighters quickly paired up to prepare their partners. Watching those brave people go into the smoking and possibly dangerous building was certainly impressive.
Not a job I would care for at any size of paycheque.
As a community, our hearts go out to the people who were displaced and possibly lost so much personal property in the fire. We also feel for Amrikko's owners - good neighbours and friends. Also impacted were the Leunenbergers, who run The Sand Dollar Cafe located in the building.
The word is that the building will be repaired and will re-open for business eventually. Hopefully this enforced change will be for the good with a newly renovated restaurant.
In the meantime, we will all miss the spicy cooking from Amrikko's and the take-out meals from the Sand Dollar Cafe.
I am confident I can speak for the neighbourhood when I say we wish everyone well as they plan for their futures.
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