July 03, 2014 - 2:22 PM
VERNON - Next time you fill up at the Super Save gas station in Enderby, follow the bear prints inside the new building.
You’ll find intricately carved wooden pillars and doorways, glass etching on the windows and countless other cultural details infused into the brand new gas station store designed by Kevin Halchuk and Grahame Go and built by Driven Construction.
The old building, which housed the Quilakwa art gallery, was destroyed by fire in November 2012. The former store manager was recently charged with arson and mischief endangering life in connection with the devastating fire.
“I think it (new building) is a symbol of regeneration in the community,” Splatsin chief Wunuxtsin Kukpi7 Wayne Christian says. “A big piece of designing the new building was making sure we really displayed our culture, our people, and our history.”
Carvings in the log building’s expansive main room tell of wars, fishing practices, and legends of the grizzly, cougar and moose. Most of the wood carvings adorning the pillars and doors were done by Salmon Arm artist Bob Whitehead. Paw prints and designs stained into the concrete floor were created by artist Ken Whitehead.
In the future, there will be write-ups explaining the stories behind the images. Salvaged logs from the old building and the wood floor from the old Band hall were worked into the new building.
In addition to the convenience store and art gallery, the building also houses office spaces and a large boardroom used for council and community meetings.
“This is a signal we’re open for business,” Wunuxtsin says.
Super Save manager Keith Becket expects the new building will draw locals and tourists alike.
“This place is going to sell itself,” Becket says.
The main floor was designed to feature a restaurant, something Becket believes would add the draw of the building. So far, there’s been no word on what restaurant will go there.
When you visit the building, be sure to make a pit stop in the washroom. Note the tile work by Enderby-based artist Tony Antoine and textured rope border along the walls.
“Nobody in the area has bathrooms as nice as ours,” Becket says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014