A favourite West Kootenay summer camp suffered major damage from the wind storm last week.
A significant stand of three massive cedar trees fell through the roof of Camp Koolaree’s washroom during the Jan. 13 storm that wrecked havoc throughout the region.
“We will recover from this,” said Camp Koolaree Society chair Peter Herd. “Our camp has run every summer for 90 years. Even with the ongoing pandemic, we adapted to run small day-camps in 2020. Koolaree is a resilient place, and we are dedicated to finding a way through this.”
The trees destroyed part of the building that housed the camp’s showers and boy’s washroom, and although the damage is severe, it could have been worse.
Turns out, last summer the camp had already begun construction on a new wash house, which remains unfinished and awaits funding to complete the interior walls, floor, and plumbing.
“We are extremely fortunate these trees came down now instead of a year ago,” said Herd. “The camp hopes to complete the new wash house before June, but that all depends on if we can fundraise enough money by then.”
The Camp Koolaree society, which is a registered charity affiliated with the United Church of Canada, has served generations of Kootenay families since 1931 as the Nelson-area’s longest running children’s summer camp.
The camp, located on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, is mainly run by volunteers, and hosts up to 150 young campers in a non-COVID summer.
Herd hopes insurance from the old building may cover some or all of the costs in finishing the new wash house. However, given the urgent timeline, the camp is appealing to the public for help.
To donate funds to help rebuild Camp Koolaree, residents can go to canadahelps.org and search Camp Koolaree. Supporters can also mail a cheque to the Camp office at 1300 Pine Ave. Trail, B.C. V1R 4E6.
All surplus funds raised will go to the camp’s ongoing building projects to replace aging facilities.
Koolaree’s mission is to provide a camp experience in a safe, sustainable, and natural setting, and to foster a deeper individual connection to community, creation, and the creator among campers and staff.
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