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Death in Riverside Park rock sculpture prompts city to action

The Uji Feature Garden remains blocked off in Riverside Park while officials plan to amend the piece out of safety concerns.
April 10, 2015 - 7:33 PM

KAMLOOPS - The City of Kamloops is going to make changes to a scuplture in a local park in an effort to make it safe and prevent others from climbing into the rock structure.

The Parks Department has plans to fill in a space inside the Uji Feature Garden sculpture at Riverside Park following the death of Heather Carr in a fire inside the work of art.

“What we plan on doing is filling that hole so people can’t get in there,” parks supervisor Shawn Cook says. "I was really worried about the structural integrity of it as well."

On March 31, Carr caught fire within the large boulders after moving a rock on top out of the way and climbing in. She later died hours later in hospital.

Cook says when firefighters rescued Carr from the rocks, it could have affected the balance of the piece. Park staff erected fencing around the boulders with ‘Keep Out’ signs attached. Flowers and gifts had been left at the scene in Carr's memory.

“We’re not going to change the look of it. We just want to prevent people from going inside there,” Cook says. He added people are curious about the sculpture and he wanted to avert future accidents.

Cook is unsure how much the changes will cost as the city is waiting for a quote from a structural engineer, but says the amount will come from the park department’s maintenance budget. 

“It’s such a tragic thing. My heart goes out to the family. I hope we can fix this in a timely manner,” he says.

Friends and family of Carr said the 40-year-old mother of two was an active Pagan who regularly conducted rituals in the late evening or early morning hours. Carr’s husband called her death "a ritual gone horrifically wrong."

The B.C. Coroner’s Service continues to investigate, but a spokesperson has said it appears the victim's death was accidental.

The sculpture’s artist, William Vazan, has not returned a request for comment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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