Volunteer rebuilt fire lookout avoids demolition

Province to assess Eagle Pass Mountain structure for safety, environmental risk

The many hours of volunteer labour and thousands of dollars in materials put into the reconstruction of the Eagle Pass summit cabin will not have been in vain.

A year-and-half after the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development taped a stop-work order to the door of the 14-by-14 foot cabin and began their investigation into its reconstruction, the ministry has confirmed the structure will not be torn down.

“The statutory decision-maker did not order the structure to be removed or remediated,” states the ministry in a March 7 email.

Those behind the reconstruction of the former fire lookout, situated at the summit of the 7,500-foot Eagle Pass Mountain, said they’d been informed by the ministry they could be fined $10,000 each and the cabin could be demolished, as the province said there was no permission or permits approved to do the work.

An estimated $45,000 worth of labour and materials went into the reconstruction work done between 2016 and 2017.

Looking ahead, the ministry said the cabin is its property, and that “before the structure can be considered suitable for public use, it first must be assessed for safety, environmental risk and potential conflicts with other resource users.”

The posting of the stop-work-order in September 2017, and subsequent confirmation from the ministry that demolition was a possible outcome, sparked public and political interest to preserve the cabin for public use.

Read more: Snowmobile guide killed in accident on Queest Mountain

Read more: Refurbished fire lookout may be torn down

Read more: Splatsin embrace Eagle Pass lookout project

“If that was to be destroyed, it would be heinous,” commented Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz following a November 2017 visit to the cabin. “I mean, honest to god, it has got so much potential for us when it comes to tourism. When you’re in that building on the top of that pinnacle, you can see for miles and miles in every direction. It was an amazing experience.”

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo spoke in favour of saving the structure, as did the Splatsin Indian Band council.

Meanwhile, a petition at change.org was set up, asking the ministry to not demolish the lookout.

“The Eagle Pass Summit fire lookout, built in 1922, was rebuilt by enthusiasts, who did their due diligence in trying to get a permit,” states the petition. “A Front Counter BC Government agent told them they didn’t need a permit to rebuild an existing structure, so they went ahead and rebuilt it. Now, “…representatives of Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. (part of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) learned of the cabin being rebuilt and indicated it could be torn down.”

The petition has since closed with 13,368 signatures.

There have been calls among the snowmobiling community and elsewhere that the cabin be named after Rene St. Onge, one of the key volunteers behind the cabin’s reconstruction who died on Dec. 9, 2018.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Take an Old Bag to Tea Okanagan hospital trauma room fundraiser

A special fundraising event is June 9 to help equip the trauma room of the new David E. Kampe Tower

Minnesota standout latest signing for Okanagan BCHL squad

Liam Malmquist of Minnesota coming to Vees for 2019/2020 season

Early-morning fire destroys Okanagan packing house

Cause of fire that destroyed an Oliver packing house remains under investigation.

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Brothers acquired land at entrance to Garnet Valley

Name of Summerland valley and lake does not match spelling of family name.

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

KFD, COSAR rescue injured Okanagan hiker

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail in Kelowna after woman injured her leg

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Neighbours help save Okanagan garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire enough before BX-Swan Lake firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Most Read