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Sicamous council disapproves of proposed location for Secwépemc Landmark Art Project

Unanimous support for the project was voiced but location on Queest Mountain deemed unsuitable
An example of the fire lantern proposed as the Secwépemc Landmark Art Project installation on Queest Mountain. (District of Sicamous photo)

Sicamous council couldn’t get behind placing a Secwépemc Landmark Art Project on Queest Mountain, but remains interested in and supportive of the project.

District of Sicamous operations manager Darrell Symbaluk presented an overview of the proposed art project the Jan. 25 council meeting.

Symbaluk said the organizing group requested a meeting in May of last year and recently reached out wishing for the project to be brought to council.

The art piece, a carved globe fire lantern, can be locked and would mostly be used for ceremonies. The proposed location for the lantern is the lookout on Queest near the hang-gliding ramp.

The group asked the District of Sicamous to be a destination partner on the project, which means the district would take ownership of the art piece and cover the costs of inspection and maintenance.

The Shuswap Trail Alliance (STA) has offered to do the actual inspection and any required maintenance with financial support from the district. Symbaluk said there would likely need to be a budget for inspections and light maintenance, and a separate agreement for repair or replacement.

Libby Chisholm, Secwépemc Landmarks project coordinator, was mentioned in the presentation having said the destination partner would need to conduct bi-annual inspections and make a commitment to replace the art if necessary.

A maintenance estimate of $1,000 annually has been made by STA operations manager Adrian Bostock, with the approximate replacement cost of the project about $10,000.

READ MORE: ‘Spirit of reconciliation’: Landmark at Salmon Arm wharf creates awareness of Secwépemc presence

There would be a cement foundation to which the lantern will be secured using helix piles, and an engineer has worked with the project to ensure the piece’s stability, STA executive director Jen Bellhouse explained earlier in the meeting.

Possible damage to the art was of concern to council.

Coun. Siobhan Rich brought forward questions about the remote location being difficult to monitor and used by people with heavy machinery like snowmobiles and trucks.

As well, Rich asked if the district would be able to insure the artwork in case of damage.

Sicamous chief administrative officer Kelly Bennett confirmed the district could insure it and said if it did, the district’s $5,000 blanket deductible might be affected by 50 dollars.

Mayor Colleen Anderson voiced her support for the project but also questioned the location, saying the district doesn’t drive traffic up to the lookout if it can be helped as it’s an active logging road. Anderson said logging activity puts the art at increased risk and asked Symbaluk if he can revisit the location with the group and suggest alternatives.

Rich added that directing tourists up the road, which often has dangerous conditions, without safety radios is hard to justify.

Coun. Gord Bushell, acting as chair, said last he heard there were plans to place the art installation in Beach Park, and the piece would act as a sort of telescope on a tripod to look through and see Secwépemc points of interest.

Council unanimously agreed to table the proposal until the location could be further discussed. Overall support for the project, and becoming its destination partner, was voiced.

READ MORE: Secwepemc Landmarks Project to unveil Tsquqw7e Landmark sculpture in Chase


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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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