HORNING’S MILLS, Ontario (WIVB) – Bruce Beach has thought a lot about restoration over the years, except his concept has nothing to do with restoring cars and houses.
For Beach, a Kansas native who moved to Canada with his wife Jean in 1970, it’s all about preserving humanity after a major catastrophe — like a full scale nuclear war.
“The anticipation is that there’s going to be nuclear World War III,” said Beach, a self-described social inventor.
“My anticipation is that about 80-85 percent of the world’s population will be destroyed.”
If such a dreadful scenario ever became a reality, Beach said that he’s ready to help people survive and restore society after the last plume of radioactive fallout disappears.
“Women and children first, and in effect it becomes an underground orphanage.”
How does he plan to accomplish this?
Beach’s doomsday survival plan includes a 10,000 square foot private underground nuclear shelter that he began constructing in the 1980s.
The structure is located in Southern Ontario near Shelburne, about 70 miles northwest of Toronto.
“We’ve always said anyone is welcome if they’ll come and participate ahead of time. There are many people who come and do help, and we know who they are and they know who we are,” Beach explained.
“The idea was simply to protect as many people as we could. To put in as big a shelter as we could. The original design of the shelter was for 1,000 people, but the government changed the standards and said we had to double the space per individual, and that made it for 500,” he said.
With his dog Jemma by his side, Beach leads a News 4 camera crew inside the shelter made up of 42 school buses linked together and covered with a couple of feet of concrete and several feet of earth.
A honeycomb design with the feel of an underground submarine, the shelter includes bunk rooms, kitchens, washrooms, and provisions for power and water.
The bunker, called Ark Two, has a couple of purposes, according to Beach. Not only could it serve to protect people in the days, weeks and months following a full-scale nuclear attack, but he insists Ark Two could be transformed into a refugee center.
“People would come spend a night or two here. Shower, food and a little bit of rest as we send them on to other places,” he said.
What’s more, Beach says the shelter has loading docks and conveyers to serve as a food distribution point.
“That’s why we have the loading dock and the conveyers to bring things down. Sort it out. Pick it up. Put it in smaller trucks. Send it off to other places,” he added.
Beach, 83, who once taught college economics and computer science, says his time in the U.S. Air Force as a control tower operator got him thinking about the nature of nuclear weapons.
Beach, who’s written a book titled “Society After Doomsday,” says over the years he’s built about two dozen shelters and has consulted on the design of dozens of others.
Beach’s shelter has been the subject of numerous newspaper and television reports highlighting his fight with government entities over the shelter.
Beach estimates that he’s been to court over 30 times to contest orders that the shelter be sealed and closed off.
“The government spent over $250,000 fighting us,” Beach writes in his book. “We persevered where most people do not have the resources, tenacity, or comprehension to endure such battles.”
Beach also has a website detailing the Ark Two’s history. Readers can find all sorts of literature regarding bunker construction and surviving a nuclear catastrophe.
“I’m concerned about reinventing society for the future after nuclear war,” Beach said.
Beach understands that his preoccupation with the apocalypse tends to raise the eyebrows of those who view his passion for prepping as a bit over-the-top.
Admittedly, he’s had to adjust his doomsday timeline through the years.
“I really was convinced that it would be before the year 2000. Then I thought 2014. Here we are in the middle of 2017, and who knows how much longer it’ll drag on,” Beach said.
“About every 20 years I think, well, this is it. If it isn’t for another 20 years from now I’m going to be way over 100 so it’s not probably a problem for me personally. I don’t ever consider it a personal problem. We all depart this life. The idea is for the reconstruction of society.”