Battle underway over Canada’s largest private bunker
WATCH: Mark Carcasole takes a tour of the 35-year-old “Ark Two,” a disaster shelter beloved by survivalists that officials say is a hazard.
TORONTO – An Ontario man is fighting to protect his survival shelter from being shut down.
It’s called “Ark Two.” Bruce Beach had it built 35 years ago from 42 school buses that now lay buried under two feet of concrete and 14 feet of earth on his property in Dufferin County, about 100 kilometres northwest of Toronto.
Fire officials in the area think the bunker is a hazard. They want it permanently welded shut ahead of a survivalists’ summit on the grounds this weekend which is expected to attract hundreds of people from across North America.
Part of the draw was going to be tours of the dark and dingy shelter. It contains a labyrinth of tunnels that house everything Beach figures you’d need to survive a nuclear disaster: pumps for fresh well water, generators for power, canned food, even a giant soup pot to feed survivors.
The whole structure could accommodate 500 people by U.S. standards.
“When you go inside the bunker for the first time, it is a different planet, it’s like you’re on Mars,” said event organizer Che Bodhi.
“When you hear about this concept of 42 school buses underground, to fathom it is nothing compared to going in and actually seeing it…It’s crazy in there. Unfortunately, we can’t do that.”
While Bodhi is willing to comply with authorities’ wishes, Beach refuses to give in.
“I’ll take whatever it takes to knock the weld back off.”
And he says he’ll do it right in front of them, even if it gets him arrested.
The dispute, which Beach believes is personal, dates back to 2000. Citing public safety concerns, the Shelburne Fire Board ordered the shelter fixed up and closed.
Beach claims he made the recommended changes and is adamant that the bunker is structurally sound. He adds that it was designed “under the direction of a licensed structural engineer: The individual who happened to build the subway tunnels in Toronto.”
The OPP, which has been asked by the fire department to seal the door on the bunker, says it doesn’t have the authority to do that. That’s up to the fire department. Fire officials didn’t respond to multiple requests from Global News for comment.
WATCH: 16×9 profiled Beach and others who build underground bunkers to prepare for the end of the world.Follow @TrishKozicka
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