The 100 Mile House Royal Canadian Legion has closed its Camp Canama until further notice.
Joni Guenther, acting president of Legion branch 260, said the decision was made to close the cadet camp in Lac La Hache because the legion doesn’t have the money or resources to maintain it.
Under its agreement with the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the 10-acre site – on Crown land – is required to be fenced but the Legion doesn’t have the money or volunteers to do it.
The legion is halfway through a 30-year lease on the property, which has been used in the past for cadet camps and events, drawing people from all over the province.
“There is absolutely no access,” Guenther said. “There’s nobody to take care of it and it’s a hazard. Fences are down, trees have fallen. We’ve asked the cadets to take care of it but it requires full-time maintenance. It’s a huge liability issue.”
Donna Barnett, who sits on the Royal Canadian Legion board, said the lease is strictly for cadets and their members, but has been used by the public in the past.
The Legion had a full-time summer caretaker until last year, but without one, there are concerns the Legion could be liable if the public leaves the gate open or wanders over the CN tracks, where there is no legal crossing.
“People go through there … and leave the gate open and cattle and kids get on the railway track,” Barnett said. “It is private property, not to be trespassed. Until the legion has an opportunity to completely fence it, it will stay as cadet and only members because that is the agreement the legion made with the government. Last year there were just so many people who showed up out there. There could have been some terrible accidents.”
A summer manager is being sought for the property. Barnett maintains that while it’s a “beautiful piece of property” with a small cabin but no electricity or indoor plumbing, it is not a public campsite and those who want to use are required to contact the Legion beforehand.
“The Legion is doing what it can to comply with the lease agreement. You’ve got to protect the people who are responsible for it.”