Sandman Centre in Kamloops was temporary home to B.C. Interior residents displaced this past summer by wildfires. They were helped at the arena by countless volunteers. The TNRD will honour those volunteers with a monument to be created and placed outside the arena. The regional district has set aside $100,000 in next year’s budget for the project.

Sandman Centre in Kamloops was temporary home to B.C. Interior residents displaced this past summer by wildfires. They were helped at the arena by countless volunteers. The TNRD will honour those volunteers with a monument to be created and placed outside the arena. The regional district has set aside $100,000 in next year’s budget for the project.

TNRD approves spending $100,000 on monument to wildfire volunteers

The monument will be erected in the plaza outside Sandman Centre

Kamloops This Week

The wildfire sculpture that stands outside the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Building in downtown Kamloops will be getting some company.

The TNRD board has approved setting aside $100,000 in next year’s budget to create a monument to regional district volunteers who helped during this past summer’s wildfires.

The monument will be erected in the plaza outside Sandman Centre, the arena where many wildfire evacuees from Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and elsewhere were housed.

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It is estimated volunteers put in more than 75,000 hours to help in July and August.

The chair of the TNRD board is hoping to have more to offer than the $100,000 in public money set aside by officials to pay for a public-art memorial.

John Ranta said the $100,000 from the TNRD’s general revenue might be augmented by corporate or philanthropic donations.

“It’s consistent with what happened after the 2003 wildfire with the statue in front of the TNRD Building,” he said of the Cameron Kerr sculpture on Victoria Street and Fifth Avenue.

Kerr’s creation — which houses regional district headquarters, the Kamloops Art Gallery and the Kamloops Library — features four people facing north and was created in memory of the 2003 wildfires that ravaged parts of the North Thompson Valley.

Ranta said the regional district is hoping to move quickly on the memorial, aiming to have it done by April.

“The timeline we’re looking at for this particular monument is a little shorter than the last one,” he said. “We’ll put up a request for expressions of interest and that will go out to artists and sculptors in the area.”

As for what it might look like, the board is waiting to see what proposals artists come up with.

“It’s kind of up in the air until we see what the area artists have in mind,” Ranta said.