The damage was even more than they first thought.
Fifty-two damaged roofs. Three hundred thousand dollars in total damage. Up to three months of cleanup.
But Camp Hope, a conference, camping and wedding centre operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is turning the corner after an ice storm in January caused mass havoc. Hundreds of trees were split, electrical wiring was destroyed, thousands of dollars of food went bad and the chapel’s stained glass windows were broken.
“There was virtually no part of the camp that wasn’t untouched,” says Bill Gerber. “It’s almost been overwhelming, but with the help of our volunteers it’s been doable.”
This weekend has seen 35 volunteers at the camp, repairing buildings and sweeping away the thousands of limbs and branches that fell on the ground. For the last month, people who have been at Camp Hope at one time or another been coming from as far away as Courtenay and Barriere, helping to restore it to its previous condition.
“If I can help someone it’s worth it, for myself it doesn’t matter,” says Norman Duncan, a certified tree faller from Kelowna. “They had a problem, I was happy to help.”
PHOTOS: Damage at the Camp Hope Camp and Conference Centre in January
Duncan spent much of the day cutting down damaged trees and making sure they wouldn’t cause more damage.
“It’s very dangerous, there’s four or five tops on some of these trees, and you don’t know where they’re going to go.”
Gerber says the camp won’t be fully repaired until late next month, but says it would be much worse without the volunteers.
“If it wasn’t for our volunteers, [with] my staff of three maintenance guys, I don’t think we wouldn’t have gotten this done before the fall.”
“If it wasn’t for the volunteers, I don’t know, it’s hard to say. But they have really come through for us and still are.”
– With files from Jeremy Hunka
© 2015 Shaw Media