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Okanagan church camp burned in wildfire won’t return until 2025

Camp OAC hoped to open this summer but will have to postpone
On Saturday, Oct. 7, Camp OAC held an open house for the public to see the devastation the camp encountered from the Grouse Complex of wildfires that hit the Central Okanagan in August. (Jordy Cunningham/Capital News)

The McDougall Creek ripped through West Kelowna in August 2023, destroying not only homes and property but also Camp OAC.

In operation since 1950, Camp OAC is a ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay. The plan was to have the camp operational for this summer, however, that will not be happening.

Camp director Ian Dixon, Archbishop Lynne McNaughton and a team of volunteers have been securing necessary permits, overseeing the remediation of the site, and replacing key infrastructure, in the hopes of opening the camp. Two cabin buildings have already been ordered and will be delivered to the site later this summer.

“Okanagan Anglican Camp offers such an unforgettable experience for so many young people, and I’m incredibly disappointed that a variety of circumstances beyond our control have forced us into this decision,” said Archbishop Lynne McNaughton. “And yet, as a diocesan ministry, Camp OAC is, above all, committed to the safety of young people. When campers return, we want to guarantee that everything is back, and to the highest standard.”

McNaughton said she has “the utmost confidence” the camp will return in 2025.

Camp OAC is a children’s summer camp located off Westside Road along Okanagan Lake.

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