Splatsin band councillors George Dennis and Daniel Joe show their support for the Eagle Pass summit lookout, rebuilt by volunteers, as a welcome addition to the Secwepemc First Nation in 2017. (File Photo)

Decision on fate of Eagle Pass lookout expected end of February

Reconstructed fire lookout could be demolished, volunteers fined

A decision may be made by the end of the month on the fate of the Eagle Pass lookout restored by volunteers who could face fines for their actions.

The cabin at the summit of the Eagle Pass was a pile of rubble until a group of volunteers rebuilt it in 2016. The group restored the structure which was originally constructed in 1922 and once served as a fire lookout, using their own funds and time.

Related:Province to decide fate of Eagle Pass lookout

After the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural, Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) got wind the cabin had been restored, the group that worked on it were notified they could be fined $10,000 and the cabin they built could face demolition.

The volunteers who rebuilt the cabin had an opportunity to state their case at a May 8, 2018 hearing in Vernon. Since the hearing, the evidence has been in the hands of a statutory decision maker who will have to decide if the restoration of the cabin violated the forest and range practices act and what should be done about it.

Related:Shuswap politicians want Eagle Pass cabin left standing

According to a FLNRORD representative the statutory decision maker’s decision is expected by the end of February.

The group that restored the cabin maintained they had done their due diligence ensuring their work would be permissible.

In a previous interview, volunteer Rene St. Onge, who has since died in a tragic snowmobile accident, said his group consulted with a manager at FrontCounter BC in Kamloops before starting to build and were told permits would not be required because the work would be done on an existing structure.

The cabin project enjoyed broad support from local politicians with the District of Sicamous, the Splatsin First Nation and Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo lining up behind it.

A petition hosted on change.org which hopes to stop the rebuilt cabin from being demolished has received 4,061 signatures.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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