Military volunteers rock View Royal jailhouse

Military members remove a table from the former detention centre. Photo by John Penner/ John’s Photography

Military members remove a table from the former detention centre. Photo by John Penner/ John’s Photography

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Armed with sledgehammers, drills, saws and tool belts, 35 volunteers from the Royal Canadian Navy helped local charity HeroWork with a difficult demolition project in View Royal.

Made up of staff from the Damage Control Division of Naval Fleet School (Pacific), volunteers spent most of April 30 gutting the inside of a former youth detention centre on Talcott Road. The demo work is to make way for a full-scale renovation of the building on behalf of Our Place Therapeutic Recovery Centre that will take place in June.

HeroWork is a local non-profit that helps other local charities improve their buildings through self-described Radical Renovations.

HeroWork Chief Executive Officer, Paul Latour says the demolition work was a vitally important first step in their latest renovation and the work completed included the removal of fibre glass beds and seating from the holding cells, lighting and electrical boxes, cabinetry and cupboards, along with the demolition of concrete walls. 

He commended the volunteers for their efforts while also noting their work was more difficult than most demolition projects since the site is a former jail and everything there was built not to be broken.

“The team of volunteers arrived on a bus from CFB Esquimalt, got to work right away and in an organized fashion,” said Latour. “Historically, volunteers from the base have made enormous contributions to our projects and we can always count on them. We are also expecting a big turnout from them when our Radical Renovation project for Our Place starts in June.”

Our Place Therapeutic Recovery is a local non-profit with a mandate of tackling the problems of homelessness, addiction, and incarceration through the development of a therapeutic recovery community as a method of treatment.

The demolition project was organized through Boomer’s Legacy and headed by former Commander of the Damage Control Division, LCdr (Retired) Rob Petitpas, who recently accepted a full-time position as HeroWork’s Director of Projects. For more information about HeroWork and how to get involved visit their website

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