Windsor takes first steps on recovery path

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Two and a half days after a fire destroyed the main building at Windsor Plywood’s Rainbow Road site, the ownership and management team are in full-on recovery mode. 

“We have a little building in the back that we are getting power to, and then we are going to have one room for paint and the other for kitchen cabinets and countertops,” said Windsor co-owner Ken Marr on Thursday morning. 

“The door shop is already up and running . . . Our carpenters are in there like nothing happened. It’s full steam ahead. We are going to recover fast.” 

Staff are working from tables under tents at the Rainbow and Beddis Road sites, with account sales only available at this point and transactions being processed manually.

Windsor’s 250-537-5564 phone number will be operational by Friday, Marr said. Other department-specific phone numbers will be announced as soon as possible. 

Two small housing units have been offered for use by Fields Stores Ltd. (Six more of the buildings that were part of a low-income housing complex in Powell River and purchased by Fields were barged to Salt Spring on Monday night and are on the 804 Fulford-Ganges Rd. property where a new Fields outlet is scheduled to open this summer. See the June 9 issue of the Driftwood for that story.)

The buildings from Fields are just one of countless offers of assistance Windsor has received, along with phenomenal expressions of community support, which have meant a lot to owners and staff.

Despite the upsetting nature of the fire, Marr and the rest of his team are focusing on the positive and moving forward. 

“This could have been really bad. It is bad. But no one got hurt and the fire was contained to the building,” said Marr.

A representative from the Office of the Fire Commissioner has been to the site, and insurance and Windsor head office personnel will be on the island on Friday.  

The priority at the moment is to serve island contractors and tradesmen who need supplies in order to do their work, said Marr, so homeowners are being asked to put off visits at this time. 

Unfortunately, 20 per cent of Windsor’s 55 employees have been laid off as a result of the fire. 

The plan is to rebuild on the 3.5-acre Rainbow Road property, which is owned by Lakeshaw Holdings Ltd., a company belonging to former Salt Spring Windsor store co-owner Gordon McEwan.

For the most up-to-date information, including a photo and note about Cedar the cat and some collateral damage related to her rescue, Marr recommends people check the Windsor Plywood Salt Spring Facebook page.

If anyone would like to provide messages of support for a special tribute page being published in our June 9 issue of the paper, send them to news@gulfislandsdriftwood.com, via Messenger on our Gulf Islands Driftwood Facebook page or a phone call to our office at 250-537-9933.

For more on this story, see the June 9 issue of the Driftwood. 

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