Buddha’s Arrival and the Surprises That Await Us

Rested and Ready To Be PLaced

With video and cameras fully charged on January 31, 2019, everyone was anxiously awaiting news that Buddha would be arriving.  With blizzard conditions slowing the transport we informed we would be delayed a day as the shipment was halted at the Obed Summit.  Just as the day was ending a late call was received… it was Scott Konrad of Delnor and he was excited. The Blizzard driven Travel Ban had been lifted and Buddha will arrive in 2 ½ hours.  I raced through the snow to the Westlock Meditation Center…  On the way I made sure Tom Dodd of Fission Media was aware and ready to record the event.

Peter and Alex await the arrival along the road

The bright lights greeted me in the pitch darkness and driving snow as I turned off Hi-way 44.  Scott had set up Genset lights at the intersection of the Range Road and the entry to the site.  At the Intersection; Peter, the resident Buddhist Monk, waited in the -24 degree C windswept night.  He greeted me with his signature smile and enthusiasm, however on that night he had a level of excitement that I have not seen before.

After a brief chat with Peter, I went to the site and met Scott.  We were just about to visit the Mausoleum and see the construction progress, when we saw the lights of the NIC tractor trailer approach the intersection.  At the same time Master Thay was approaching from the airport racing to be on site for Buddha’s arrival.  Master Thay and the NIC driver arrived at the intersection at the same time… divine intervention? Maybe. 

The van led the delivery as Buddha entered the site.  The driver had a huge smile, he had Master Thay in the cab delivering the precious cargo!  In the brutally cold night, we witnessed Master Thay bless the welcoming of Buddha.  The word was given that the base would be on site the on Friday morning. 

Buddha arrives at the Westlock Meditation Center

In the morning adrenalin was at a fever pitch and with cranes on site, everyone was looking forward to authorization to proceed with the lift after safety inspections were completed…

3D Cranes ready to dismount the statue
a warm reception on a bitterly cold night

By afternoon we had removed the wrapping of the base to see the bright gold of the bronze beauty.  Safety inspectors reviewed the internal structure of the base and the body.  The news was not good… It was determined that the structural steel and the welds did not meet Canadian
Standards for Religious Artifacts.  At that point we were informed that we had weeks of remedial work ahead of us and spirits sank…

a variety of complications in the structure

By the end of the day Bullet Proof welding was hired to work in the bitter cold, in the confined space of the Buddha Base and the core of the Buddha body.  As the remedial work on the base was completed, Scott began to hoard the Buddha body, and the protective wrapping was being removed… Scott’s spirit sank again…

The “welcoming hand” of Buddha was broken off at the wrist, and there was significant damage to the fingers and thumb.  Now what do we do?  Before I was told of the damage Scott had discussed the situation with the welders, researched the material needs and the repair opportunities.  Special welding, braising, fill, and finishing to match.  Another delay. 

Buddha broken at the wrist, damage to the fingers

But where did this happen and who was responsible?  Again, Scott was ahead of the questions, he had reviewed videos of the statue arriving, inspected pictures and determined that the damage happened upon leaving Vancouver.  When NIC was informed they were dismayed and worked with our team to assist in the remedial effort for the repairs.

At 10:30, Friday March 8th , 2019, Scott Konrad pressed “send” and we were all excited to receive news that the hand repair was complete and the 3D Crane team would be on site for the 20th and 21st… 

February 8th restoration complete!

Spirits sored, and the thanks to Scott and his hard work with his team, we can finally properly welcome Buddha and lift him onto his new pedestal at the Westlock Meditation Center!

Buddha acclimatized awaiting the lift

Enthusiasm and adrenaline are at a fever pitch and we are so proud of the performance of the entire team and the great leadership of Scott Conrad of Delnor Construction Ltd

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