David Kozier didn’t expect to spend his first summer managing the Canim Lake General Store under evacuation order due to wildfires.
Yet that’s just what happened after Kozier and his wife took over running the business in February.
Most of Canim Lake was put on alert and South Canim Lake under evacuation order on July 14, although the evacuation order has since been lifted on July 24. Residents in the area remain under evacuation alert.
“We’re loving the area. The fires were a bit of a surprise but it comes with the territory I think,” Kozier said.
Although they had anticipated a busy tourist season, it’s been fairly quiet at the store over the last two weeks, Kozier said. Last week, his only customers were locals or South Canim Lake residents who chose to remain to watch their properties, along with firefighters.
The roadblock for the evacuated area was right on the other side of his property, so he said people can still access the store.
“We serve lots of firefighters (right now). They come by the store all the time and get coffee, sandwiches, baking and all the goodies,” Kozier said. “It’s nice to have them around. It’s reassuring every time you get to talk with them. They always seem to be in good spirits, which is always uplifting.”
As a precaution, Kozier’s wife left the area with their child for Abbotsford while he runs the store with a skeleton crew of staff.
He’s hopeful the wildfires won’t last the entire tourist season.
As an essential service thanks to their Canada Post Office, Kozier said that short of the fires getting worse he’s confident the store will be able to remain open during the rest of the summer.
During the evacuation order, the story was stocked up for the tourist season, so Kozier said he was not in danger of running out of anything.
However, he admits that during the evacuation order, the supply line for fresh produce was a bit precarious, and he had to meet his supplier at the highway.
The Canim Lake General Store is still operating seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.