Williams Lake City Coun. Craig Smith (from left)

Williams Lake City Coun. Craig Smith (from left)

Stampede Park gets elaborate gateway

Williams Lake’s Stampede Park has an impressive new welcome sign, thanks to a huge community effort.

Williams Lake’s Stampede Park has an impressive new welcome sign, thanks to a huge community effort steered by Pioneer Log Homes of B.C., the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Stampede Association.

Made of massive cedar logs, with carvings featuring Chief William, a bull and horse, tools for mining, forestry and ranching, along with the Williams Lake Stampede brand, the sign was installed Wednesday at the Mackenzie Avenue entrance to the park.

“The project is a special celebration of the 90th Williams Lake Stampede and the City of Williams Lake,” said André Chevigny, general manager of Pioneer Log Homes of B.C. as crews continued the final installation work on the structure.

“I approached both the city and the Stampede Association to do something special,” he said. “We didn’t just want to have some small posts here, we wanted to have something magnificent.”

Describing it as a one-of-a kind project, City Coun. Scott Nelson said the new sign celebrates one of the community’s most important events.

“Donations are coming in daily to the city to help pay for the project,” Nelson added. “It really has become a community project.”

Stampede Association president Tim Rolph described the structure as spectacular.

“It shows the strength of the community with all the parties that came together to make it happen,” Rolph said. “I am so thankful to the City and Pioneer for putting it together and so many other organizations. It’s neat to see the way the community can pull together.”

Rolph’s daughter, Amanda Fuller, is a director on the Stampede Association and said as a young person growing up in the community, it has been exciting to see the community come together on the project.

“We have a lot of great events that happen in our community and I do believe the Stampede is one of the biggest we put on,” Fuller said. “It was a cool experience to work on it with my dad and also have André and his son Tévis working together, and Pat and Tyler Blackwood with Cariboo Interior Crane, another father-son pair that were there. We just really celebrated the spirit of the community.”

Chevigny said the carvings signify rodeo, Chief William who Williams Lake is named after and pays tribute to the First Nations in the area.

“The tools are for mining, forestry and ranching — the industries that made this community,” he added.

Pointing to the top log, Chevigny said it weighs about 17,000 pounds, while the side ones weigh 6,000 and 7,000 pounds respectively.

There is also a plan to insert a time capsule inside the top log, an idea that came from one of Pioneer’s master craftsmen Beat Schwaller.

“We’ve asked the City, Stampede Association and Pioneer for things to embed in there,” Chevigny said of the time capsule.

The project was made possible by the Williams Lake Stampede Association, City of Williams Lake, the Cariboo Regional District, Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia, André Chevigny, Taseko Mines Gibraltar, Mainline Roofing, Scouten Engineering, Evergreen Geotechnical, United Concrete and Gravel, Bercar Construction, Caribou Interior Crane, Bruce Forseille Contracting, Franklin Industries, Broadway Rentals, Gordon’s Septic and Hydro Vac., Mark Colp and Windsor Plywood, Chevigny said, adding he apologized if he missed anyone because so many people helped pull it together.

“I want to thank the Stampede Association’s Tim Rolph and Amanda Fuller, city councillor Scott Nelson for helping pull it together and B.C. Hydro’s Herb Butters and Neil Blockland for their exceptional service,” Chevigny said.

“I’ve been trying to do something for two years, either for the entry way to the city or down here at the Stampede Grounds,” Chevigny added. “I am pretty proud. It will be seen by thousands and thousands of people, and continue to benefit our beautiful community for all future generations who drive under it. I also want to especially thank Beat and the team at the Soda Creek Site for helping pull off the project during peak production and already overwhelmed schedules.”

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