Bob Fleming

Bob Fleming

Weeds reclaim Kalamalka Lake Lookout

Last fall, the Ministry of Transportation spent $58,000 to upgrade the site

A local landmark is looking pretty rough despite an investment from taxpayers.

Complaints have been rolling in about dead trees and weeds at the Kalamalka Lake lookout, just off Highway 97.

“Each day, tour buses and travellers stop at the lookout and what they see is unacceptable,” said resident Colene Facey.

Last fall, the Ministry of Transportation spent $58,000 to upgrade the site, including two outhouses, six picnic tables, garbage bins, fencing, trees and a grassy area.

“This facility cost us taxpayers and it was done obviously for the political photo-op rather than providing a beautiful spot for locals and visitors to enjoy the sights,” said Facey.

“I would take a weed eater and a rake to clean up, but the point is, what is the ministry and its contractor doing to keep B.C. the tourist destination they advertise non-stop?”

Coldstream officials blame multiple levels within the ministry for the situation.

“It’s class bureaucracy. Nobody takes ownership and nobody takes pride,” said Coun. Doug Dirk.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee is writing a letter to the ministry about the lookout and demanding a meeting.

“It’s a high-profile area for tourists. Action is needed,” said director Bob Fleming, who took matters into his own hands Thursday and hacked down the overgrown weeds.

“What I’m going to propose is to see if we can find a community group that is interested in adopting a lookout just to do this. And it doesn’t need it very often because they don’t water it.”

Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, admits he has received complaints about the lookout and he is concerned about conditions.

“We got on it right away and contacted the ministry,” he said. “They are working on it.”

The Ministry of Transportation says the lookout is frequently vandalized, including the removal of trees.

“The ministry is working closely with the contractor to explore alternative options to mitigate vandalism, which includes the possibility of planting bushes and/or grass instead of trees,” it states.

“In addition, the ministry will continue to work with the contractor to manage the natural vegetation in the area, and will determine by later this summer whether an additional seeding of the area is required.”