By David F. Rooney
Six months ago their survival looked, well… questionable. But today, the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier (FMRG) appear to have weathered the worst financial crisis in their 23-year history and are on the way to recovery — despite losing $80,000 worth of merchandise when the basement of the Parks Canada building was flooded.
“We’re still talking with the insurance company,” says Friends’ Executive Director Neillis Kristensen. “But we’re lucky we had insurance so everything is covered.”
The rift that had been growing between the FMRG and Parks Canada also appears to be on the mend.
The Friends will be reopening their shop at the Rogers Pass Centre until mid-July when they’ll move it into Glacier Park Lodge and they will manage a small retail outlet at the Visitors’ Information Centre downtown.
Most importantly, however, they are opening a shop at Balsam Lake on the summit of Mount Revelstoke.
First, though they have to get road access to the summit so they can renovate it.
“It’s going to be cheap,” Kristensen said. “Ideally the demo-reno will take place June 26-28. Most of the demolition will be inside. We’re going to strip it down to the bare bones.”
From there, a little paint, some counters, etc. and — voila! — they’ll be open for business.
Kristensen said they plan to offer visitors food items, such as snacks, trail mixes, Mount Cartier and Mount Begbie bars from the Modern, books, ponchos, bug spray and water.
However, while the future looks pretty good — and Kristensen is back working full-time at full salary after six months on hacked-back wages and office time — they’re not all the way out of the woods, yet. They need a good year to clear up a $44,805 deficit and they are embarking on the creation of a new strategic plan that can help guide them through the years to come.
“We need that in order to know where we’re going… not just do what we’ve always done,” Kristensen said. “We want a new vision and a new mission statement along with a complete review of everything we do.”
Fortunately there is a relatively young and forward-looking board to do that. The new board consists of Kristensen, Ashleigh Crompton, Shaun Moore, Glen O’Reilly, Jackie O’Ryan, Chris Tait, Giles Shearing and Kevin Manual.
He also said the Friends are also poised to kick start their Junior Naturalist Program. Starting July 6 it will run until Sept. 1 and will give kids and opportunity explore the great outdoors. Coordinated by Jackie O’Ryan, it will stage three-hour morning events on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for kids aged six to ten. Each event will cost $2
The Friends will not sponsor an Art in the Park event this year but they will be heavily involved in the Celebrate Summit activities this summer.