The middle section of Christina Lake’s old mini mall lies in ruins after the roof caved in March 1. Photo: Facebook/Pat Johnston

The middle section of Christina Lake’s old mini mall lies in ruins after the roof caved in March 1. Photo: Facebook/Pat Johnston

Melting snow brings down part of Christina Lake mini mall

Mural destroyed in collapse, according to the mall’s owner

A section of a Christina Lake mini mall collapsed under the weight of melting snow early Monday, March 1.

Randy Gilbert, owner of the Christina Lake Motel & RV Park at 19 West Lake Dr., said the mini mall came with the lot when he and his wife bought it in 2020.

“We managed to salvage both motels on the site, plus the campground and the mini mall was going to be our project for this year,” Gilbert told The Grand Forks Gazette.

The roof was done in by February’s freeze/thaw cycle, he said.

The mini mall is renowned for its odd orientation, the result of a dispute with the ministry of transportation, which didn’t grant highway access to the original owner. Gilbert said the owner then built the mini mall in three sections facing away from Highway 3.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Area C later paid for two murals that went on the back of two of the buildings, according to Director Grace McGregor.

A mural of a little girl playing in a sandbox didn’t survive Monday’s collapse, but the mural of Cascade Falls remains on the back of the mini mall’s laundromat, which Gilbert said wasn’t affected when the middle building came down.

McGregor said she’d commissioned the murals a number of years ago because she wanted, “something that would show off Christina Lake to people driving on the highway, coming down the hill.”

“This was the last thing they needed,” McGregor said of the Gilberts, praising the couple for having bought the motel and RV park after they’d sat abandoned for three years.

“We needed someone to buy that place who really cared and that’s who they are,” she said.