Attentive residents may have noticed a 100 Mile House icon disappear, temporarily at least.
“We’re creating a new building for the red coach, right in behind the Visitor Centre. We feel that it will get way more exposure there than where it is now,” says Todd Conway, Director of Community Services for the District of 100 Mile House.
The contract the district had with Westgate Resources (Red Coach Inn) to display the coach was terminated as Westgate Resources did not exercise its option to renew the agreement for a further 10 years.
The new home of the coach will be a log building to suit the area with the South Cariboo Visitor Centre and Canlan signs being all log, says Conway.
“So we’re gonna do log accents on the building.”
Construction on the new building has already started with the slab having been poured and the log work is underway which is expected to be completed in about a month, says Conway, adding that the structure will be up sometime in January, weather permitting.
“The stagecoach itself is gonna be moved [on] Friday (Nov. 22). It will be going to our works yard and it will be in the works yard until the new building is constructed. So as soon as the new building is constructed we’re moving the red coach over.”
There will be new signage with the history of the coach along with it in the new location as well, says Conway.
“It’s gonna be in a high-visible spot now being the Visitor Centre. Yeah, with the historic value of the stagecoach we feel it’s a way better spot for it.”
The budgeted costs, $35,000, were allocated from the infrastructure reserve and includes the relocation of existing heavy machinery to the Demonstration Forest Trail area. The glass of the existing shelter will be re-purposed.
The original B.C. Express Stage Coach No. 14 in question is the only surviving coach of the Barnard Express and stage line which travelled between Ashcroft and Prince George as late as 1917.
At the Visitor Centre, the stagecoach is a welcome addition.
“We’re excited. I think it’ll be a great addition to the Visitor Centre.,” says Julie Gilmore, manager at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre. “It’s hidden away. Most people don’t realize it’s there and have a hard time finding it.”
Some locals walking around the marsh have asked what they’re doing, seeing the work that’s been put in so far, she says.
“They’ve been excited. They’re like ‘oh that’s nice!’”