The province is stepping in to help protect the memorial cairn on top of Mount Prevost.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said staff in the office of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development read a Citizen newspaper story about concerns of off-road motorized vehicles parking too close to the war memorial in October and contacted the municipality.
Siebring said he and municipal staff recently held a conference call with the ministry on the cairn site, which is owned by the province.
“Some staff members from the ministry decided to head to the top of Mount Prevost to check out the site and concluded that, with its views, the war memorial and the significance of the site for local First Nations, it was a spectacular area,” he said.
“They said they would happily do whatever it takes to help to prevent vandalism and improve access to the site.”
The memorial cairn, constructed of granite and more than 10 metres tall, was installed shortly after the Second World War to honour those who fought and died in both world wars.
Concerns were raised in October after hikers spotted a number of off-road vehicles parked with their front wheels almost touching the base of the cairn.
Siebring said the ministry suggested that guard rails be placed in the parking lot at the base of Mount Prevost to prevent motorized vehicles from ascending to the cairn site.
“I told them that I expected the guard rails would be pulled out of the ground within days,” said Siebring, who led a campaign to restore and upgrade the cairn in 2000.
“Then they suggested that maybe a new landscape design and architecture might work. I said the municipality had no money for the project and the ministry staff said they would find a way.”
Siebring said a decision was made for the municipality and the ministry to form a working group to discuss what to do with the cairn site.
“It’s a site of huge cultural importance for the Cowichan Tribes, so the First Nation will be invited to be part of the working group as well,” he said.
“The working group will be established in the new year.”