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Hollyburn Lodge Renewal Project

"It Takes a Community To Build a Lodge"
Kevin Healy

I was asked a few years ago to look at the Lodge and see what the options were out there that would meet the needs of the various stakeholders, BC Parks, West Vancouver, Cypress Mountain and the public stakeholders who had been pushing for preservation of the lodge for years.  Doing a review of the lodge it readily became apparent that the lodge was being held together with a combination of paint, memory and habit as well as a plywood boat as a foundation.  It was evident that restoration was never an option.  Taking a closer look at the lodge it became apparent that the value of the lodge was not the sloppy assembly of scavenged boards, mismatched windows and rotting foundation.  No it was the sense of community and assembly that the Lodge represented.  So it was agreed to recreate the lodge look and feel in the heritage location by First Lake.

 Next up was what does this cost.  Well the first cut was $1.6 million with a third of that being running services out to lodge which didn’t work.  So we rerationalized that down.  Still didn’t work.  So I was thinking there had to be photos of various Architects, Engineers, contractors, suppliers in adequately compromising situation such that significant savings could be extracted.  We relooked at the total and were still a bit out of whack.  That is where the Hollyburn Heritage Society and the Hollyburn Ridge Association came in with a fund raising campaign to fill the gap.  So Bobby then sold it to head office and Marianne Booth sold it to the Mayor and we were off.  (Unfortunately we did end up part way between the target budget and the original one, …….but we are too far along to think about that now!)

They say it takes a village to raise a child and it turns out it takes a community to build a lodge.  As you may know it has been a pretty busy market out there for designers and contractors, so getting anyone on board even at full price is a challenge out there.   There are literally hundreds of people that can walk by the lodge and say “I was part of building that”.  I can mention them all but to give you a sense I will pull out a couple of anecdotal recollections. 

Our corporate partners must have been in some pretty compromising position as we had Ron at EMCO provide literally miles of pipe and fitting, Lafarge gave us truckloads of concrete, North construction deferring billing on weeks of work, Daniel and his brother at Marine roofing and cladding put full paying clients on hold as he shipped crews and leveraged suppliers to give big discounts, We had Geopacific, Sartori, Willie at MCW, Ed at United Building System, Mathew at Little Mountain, my partner at Creus and Mark at KMBR putting their fully paying clients on hold while dealing with all the intricacies and questions that came with the lodge.  KMBR has dealt with brunt of questions that come out of not being set up as a general contract. Again too many to list today.

We had cypress staff and other contractors going above and beyond their call of duty.  Jenn Dickie, Pete, the electrical crew working nights and weekends around the demands or running a mountain, Mike P, Rob, Rick, Lyon out in all-weather pushing it forward, Chris Frampton sacrificing what is supposed to be a quiet summer and putting literally blood, sweat and tears into the lodge, coming up to volunteer on weekend after weeks of working on a baking roof with no days off.  We had Mark Kachaluba with DWV milling Hollyburn mountain timbers to link to heritage of the original.   Steve Williamson never easing up on pushing this thing forward.  Bobby fending off the spears and arrows from head office

We then had a volunteer group, again too many to list here.  This included Iola Knight and Don Grant from HHS, Jackie and Anne Talbot from HRA, Christie, Claire and Rachelle from DWV with constant support from Marianne Booth from the West Van council.  Maureen Collins adding it up (which wasn’t always good news).  We have had groups out for every step of the way, from salvaging flooring boards, board and batten, log beams, window, to staining boards, installing the wall and ceiling boards, installing heritage boards, heritage beams, refinishing the original window frames and hanging them right up to last night!  So from day one to last night with a couple of weekends this coming summer to do the final beam placement, heritage plaza with a full list of our donors and a dancefloor of heritage flooring planks, the community showed up.  We saw dozens and dozens of volunteers.  Some there every step of the way like Rick who was there with Don and my son Wes salvaging heritage planks day one and he was up to last night installing lights.  Andrew Git, the new HRA president and his family there staining the board and baton early on along with turning his kids barn red to recreating the wood plank ceiling look, Sexsmith family, Bev Holmes, David, Chris and many more than can be named, brought their enthusiasm and talents to bear to create this symbol of our community

As I said we cannot list all who helped pull this together and we are all part of the community that will keep it going, but I do want to point to the originals that started it Bob Tapp and Gordon Knight, to Iola and Don who kept it on the agenda and Jackie Swanson who pushed and did not give up as each obstacle came into play whether it was Oversized gingerbread houses, grumpy husbands or rotting windows.  Thank you for keeping us smiling and moving forward.

So the original builders salvaged boards on a rotting base which built a solid foundation for the Mountain community that has now rebuilt the lodge with a heritage of memory, place and soul to keep give this community a focus for the next 90 years. I think we can congratulate the team for pulling off the goal.