Will Log Books Ever See the Light of the Day ?

The plinths at the West Coast Park are supposed to hold the log books, that have been stored in a container near by for two years.

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 28, 2012

They were supposed to tell a tale of how forestry evolved and shaped the province.

The yarn they now spin is one of neglect and collective amnesia.

Log books were first commissioned by the Squamish council almost a decade ago at an estimated cost of $200,000 to celebrate the rich history of forestry, but the books–and the story they tell–are still in the dark for lack of funding.  

Walk along the muddied path, parallel to the train at the West Coast Railway Association Park, and you will catch a glimpse of how the present shames the past.

Standing amidst the grass that slowly creeps up are the plinths, empty and barren, stripped of their purpose: To hold the 14 log books that capture the history of West Coast forests.

But log books are nowhere to be seen.

Look closely, and you will notice a long, yellow container. This is where the log books have remained locked for the past two years, waiting to literally see the light of the day for lack of funding.

They have found temporary space here, but not a permanent home.

Like a soccer ball, these massive displays of art have been kicked around from one place to another.

From the Loggers Sports Ground to the adventure centre, and then back to the Loggers Sports, and now finally to the West Coast Railway Park.

“We hope to get funding in place this fall to install them and get them presentable for the public,” said Ken Tanner, the manager of the West Coast Park.

“Good intentions all along, just need funds to get the job finished,” Tanner said.

Artist Glenn Greensides created the log book in 2004 at the Loggers Sports Ground.

A lot of work went into creating them: Each log was cut into half and stood on end to represent the cover of each opened book.

Protective roofs representing the canopy of a tree were placed on top of the two half logs.

Carved wooden pages with images and words were attached to the logs creating the effects of a giant wooden book. Each of the 14 books represented a chapter in the history of West Coast Forests.

The books were placed in a shed on the grounds for a long period of time. In 2007, the council moved them to adventure centre.

But soon, the decision makers felt they needed to move them from the adventure centre to free up space for tourism operators who wanted to advertise there.

The then SSC director, Rob Kirkham, also felt the adventure centre was not the right place for them.

“It’s dark there and they are jammed together. They don’t really fit in there,” Kirkham said.

And they went from the adventure centre into a container where it’s probably quite dark and they are jammed together.

They were brought to the West Coast Park two years ago by Susan Steen, the then vice-president of West Coast Park.

She wanted the council to loan the log books for an area that the park was hoping to designate as a forestry interpretive area.

The present general manger, Ken Tanner, said the park is connecting to its donors to see if those log books can be placed where they belonged.

It could take an estimated $30,000 to move them out of the container and place them on the plinths so they can tell the story they were supposed to tell.

Until then, the story they tell is of wasted tax payer’s money, and of history, festering and forgotten in a long, dark container.

Comments

  1. Don Patrick says:

    just another project or dream that was important at the time but little forthought put into the future maintenance and costing. The Rotary Club of Squamish is considering the placement and security as a project but there are many like dreams that are on the table and looking for monies that just does not exist. The Railway park has provided an area for the placement and viewing, but they are on a shoe string operating budget thus require some outside help if the Log books are going to become an attraction in the Park. Lots of good thoughts and volunteers to assist in making the project a reality, but when push comes to shove it still comes down to dollars.

    • Dave says:

      Railway Park idea great as long as they are protected from the weather…otherwise another Squamish “white elephant”! Some group please come up with a sound sustainable project and I will personally support it. Perhaps those who originally conceived the idea should head up the coordination of fund raising to move the items.

  2. Don Evans says:

    Further to Don Patrick’s comment, funding is indeed the issue. The Railway Heritage Park has developed, graded and levelled the area and installed the plinths in which the books are to be pleaced. The Park just does not have the funds available to complete the job – a grant request and fundraising efforts to date have all been declined. Another break in and copper theft this weekend continue to hurt our ability to move forward with importasnt projects we would like to get done.

  3. Doug Day says:

    Dear Mayor Kirkham,
    Trust you are having a nice Summer.
    I just read a story about the Squamish Log Books languishing in a shipping container at the West Coast Railway Park.
    It does seem strange, that the D.O.S. can turn up with literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in in-budgeted severance pay to let go perfectly capable senior staff, but chokes up at $30,000. to showcase these beautiful wooden books that they paid some $200,000 to create?
    What’s up?
    Cheers,
    Doug

  4. Dave says:

    And further to Doug’s comment, the D.O.S. is going to pay $60, 000 to replace a perfectly good website! What’s up indeed!?

  5. Cyndi says:

    When I first saw these amazing log books, I was overwhelmed by how beautiful they were and wondered at such a skilled artist. I don’t think there is any better way to tell the history of a town like Squamish, than to use those magnificant logs as a story book. Saying it was “too dark” in the Adventure Center is simply rediculous — when I saw them there, yes, it was too dark to see them as clearly as needed, but that’s a simply lighting issue. Where do visitors stop first? Most likely the Adventure Center. Why would the log books NOT be there? DOS should be proud to display them there. Find the “Vendors” more room by moving office space somewhere else. All of those widows that show desks and file cabinets as you drive by the Adventure Center on the hwy, makes it look like an office building and has nothing to do with “Adventure”. How about hanging a wind/kite/board up? A kayak? A climbing wall? Mountain Bikes? When I walk in there it is SO BORING. A store, a rack, coffee kiosk, info desk………..and a dusty old stuffed bear….poor guy. Inside offices do not represent Squamish, the OUTDOORS does, and so does the resource history of the town — less office space (move to the DOS and the other Ad.Ctr. offices …somewhere else). Make room for these amazing log books and get some proper lighting for them, add outdoor equipment (hang it from the ceiling etc) and everything that TRULY represents Squamish. If drivers and passersby see sports gear etc in the windows instead of boring office furniture, they would be more inclined to pop in……and maybe get a more clear picture of what this town and area is really all about!!!

    DOS…….always missing the mark………..LISTEN, and then act……..not the other way around. It’s too bad that Common Sense is not Common.

    Cyndi.

  6. Dave says:

    Well said Cyndi!…..Like she says, D.O.S….ACT!!