Archive:Exec report - Special Projects 2006 - 2007

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Special Projects Coordinator: Christian Veenstra


This was my first year as Special Projects, also I went on to do it again the next year so this exec report is for 2006-2007-2008.

Major Projects

Sphinx Hut renovations

The Sphinx Hut was renovated in the summer of 2006, spearheaded by Roland and myself. This has it's own wiki page: Burton_2006_renovations. Of note is that parks were super friendly, flew in all our stuff for the project, and gave us a few free rides across the lake in their motor boat. Simon Gravel was the head ranger up there at the time, and Kendra Wood was the senior ranger. Their email addresses both follow the [email protected] format.

In addition to the stuff on the other wiki page the roof was leaking pretty bad, which got fixed in October with an abundance of roofing tar (maybe asphalt caulking? I can't remember) and some new aluminum roofing screws (big ones, with the built-in gasket). Some sheet aluminum was brought up to fix the roof as well, but it ended up being used to make a light reflector for the lantern, which actually greatly increased the light in the cabin. We also applied for a donation from Home Depot, but didn't get anything. The application is here, Media:HomeDepotLetter_SphinxHut.pdf, if it is useful for future applications.

Brew Hut Finishing Touches

Since Brew III was recently built, there were a few finishing touches. The hut got a final coat of paint on the window sills, a wood shed was constructed out of debris from Brew II, and the last of the non-combustible debris from Brew II was flown out via helicopter.

Brew Hut Outhouse

The Brew Hut Outhouse also got worked on alot, that was headed by Scott Nelson. Currently, it could use a re-vamp as the door seems to be self-destructing. Probably having a door which doesn't open as low would facilitate easier shoveling - likely it would be good if it was easy to shovel beyond the bottom of the door.

Brew Hut Ski Route

Much work also went into the Brew Hut Trail, spearheaded by Scott Nelson. He got the retro-reflective markers from Astrographic. The retro-reflective markers are really nice, and highly visible at night. They are a slightly thinner gauge than the new markers we got for Phelix this year from Inprotect, and were a bit more expensive. However, Astrographic is capable of making the 2 sided diamond markers which one side folded over - Inprotect won't make these (presumably the thicker gauge prohibits bending). A very small fraction of the markers have been damaged due to snow creep.

Memorable occasions include a party of 20 VOCers bushwacking in the fall with a whole pile of crap, including an aluminum ladder, do do some cutting. One VOCer suffered from shell-shock during this procedure.

Currently the route is in really good shape, although a few parties still manage to get lost on either the logging road or in the Alpine.

Metal Lock Boxes

Metal donation boxes were constructed by Jeff Mottershead and I, which I carried into both Brew and Phelix huts. They have greatly increased our hut revenue - probably by about 400%. Matt Gunn flew into Harrison Hut over Christmas (or New Years, I forget) and dropped off one there. As far as I know it has never been installed. Hopefully either Roland or Matt knows the combo (I emailed them today - will update the page when I have it). There was some talk of installing one in Sphinx, but in the end we didn't ask them since it's in a park.

Phelix Creek Trail

Work was started and basically finished on the Phelix Creek Trail - namely a route was chosen, permission granted from Ministry of Tourism Sports and the Arts, and MEC gave us an access grant. We also applied to the ACC for an access grant, but didn't get it. Ministry of Tourism Sports and the Arts required a bit of email harassment and telephone calls, but Tim Hoskin (Squamish Recreation Officer) and Robyn Begley (the geotech) were fairly helpful. Again, email addresses both follow the [email protected] format. After getting all the paperwork done, the trail was built and is currently just waiting for snow to melt so the last little bit can be finished. See all the details on the Phelix_Creek_Trail_Construction page. We should still do a little bit of tread work at high elevations, and maybe pin a few more logs on one switchback. We may also need to adjust the markers... but first we've got to wait for the snow to melt.

The application to MEC is here: Media:VOC_Phelix_Creek_MEC_Access_Grant.pdf

Sandra Nicol did the ACC application, and may still have it.

The grant report to MEC is here: Media:Phelix_Creek_Grant_Report_07046.pdf (warning - 4MB)

Routine Maintenance


Brew Hut got a new lantern globe, and maillon installed so people would stop knocking the lantern over. Brew also got a new coleman stove, and the old one was packed down.

Outstanding issues:

  • It seems that the outhouse door is self-destructing. That should get fixed next summer. Likely if people were able to dig down past the bottom of the door it would make it easier to open the door properly.


A new stove and catalytic heater was packed into Phelix, which now has two working stoves. Lantern globes were also replaced, and maillon installed. Phelix also got a new broom, toilet seat, and door handle. Installing the toilet seat was an interesting job. The hatch to the 'basement' and the door were made smaller with a hand planer, which helped alot, although it seems that no matter how much you take off the door it just swells even bigger.

Outstanding issues:

  • The roof started to leak in the loft on the South side during winter 2007-2008. This needs to get fixed this summer.
  • The door keeps swelling and jamming. Maybe if enough material is removed it will stop seizing, or maybe we should get a steel door.
  • The walls seem to be generating black spots in some places (mildew?). There is talk of putting in a heat-exchanger to get rid of the humid air. Probably sanding it off and adding a coat of paint (the toxic stuff, not normal house paint) would also help.


Sphinx got majorly overhauled, and is in good shape. It also has new appliances as of 2006, but they seem to be degrading.

Outstanding Issues:

  • Both the stove and lantern have been on the fritz lately - the stove seems to not shut off completely, and the lantern flares up when being lit.
  • The hut was filled with soot recently, likely due to people trying to light the lantern inside. Could use a wash.
  • The outhouse door was busted. Matt P. intended to do a temporary repair, but ended up doing a really good job. Still, if the door opened out, then people with shovels could open it even if it was filled with snow (which it often is). I talked to Eric (park ranger), and he seemed keen even though it is not standard BC parks to have outhouse doors open out. He said they might even fly in materials for us, although we could likely pack it in ourselves if we got a boat ride across the lake. Email Kendra Wood.


Only Pete Hudson and his crew have been in there in recent times. He wrote a VOCJ article about it for VOCJ50. There's talk of major work to be done up there soon.

Other Stuff

Access Issues

The VOC went through some access issues regarding many things these past years. Since I felt (and convinced the exec) that someone should talk to the snowmobilers (in addition to all our other efforts) I ended up becoming some sort of major player in negotiations between motorized, non-motorized, and the government in the ongoing Winter Recreation decisions. Although it has become clear to me that the government doesn't really care about recreational users of the backcountry (there's just no money in it, I guess) talks continue... Sandra Nicol and Pat Harrison are likely good contacts if you want to get some details. I've got some details too, and seem to have a good working relationship with Lincoln Ferguson, president of the Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club (although we may disagree on some things) - email me about it and I'll answer any questions.

Navigation Workshop

Rueben and I organized a navigation workshop, which has got it's own wiki page, Orienteering_School, it was pretty successful.


Cheapskates was almost closed by a bylaw enacted by our very own Vancouver City Council. With the help of some others I got the VOC all riled up about it, alot of letters were written, and I even got interviewed by CBC (mostly by accident). I wrote this on behalf of the club: