Home lost in Penticton wildfire belonged to Alberta ministers with checkered past - InfoNews

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Home lost in Penticton wildfire belonged to Alberta ministers with checkered past

The morning of Aug. 19, 2020, following the loss of a single home in the Heritage Hills subdivision, shown in photo, after the Christie Mountain wildfire roared above the community the previous night.
August 26, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The owners of the only home to burn in the Christie Mountain wildfire have been identified as two former Edmonton pastors with a controversial history in Alberta.

The residence at 176 Christie Mountain Lane in the Heritage Hills subdivision, located around six kilometres south of Penticton, burned, Aug. 18, when the wildfire suddenly changed direction around dusk.

The wildfire had been moving up a steep gulley when winds shifted, bringing the flames to within metres of the upper portion of the subdivision. Firefighters couldn’t save the house, in spite of their best efforts, when it was caught between flame fronts on the mountain.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen confirmed the loss after contacting the owners.

Calvin Hugh Switzer and Janis Lea Switzer are listed as the owners of the residence.

The two ministers founded the Victory Christian Centre in Edmonton in 1982, a mega-church with 1,000 members, according to the Edmonton Journal, and included a TV and radio show and a K-12 private school. The Journal reported the church lost millions of dollars in a failed real estate deal in 2008 and was forcibly evicted from its own building in 2013 and has been evicted two more times for not paying rent. Several church members have alleged financial irregularities that have attracted the attention of Canada Revenue Agency. 

Attempts to locate the Switzers were unsuccessful. 

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