The roof of the temple at Yasodhara Ashram was extensively damaged by fire this month.

Yasodhara Ashram fire poses ‘big loss, big challenge’

The East Shore’s regional director says the fire at Yasodhara Ashram is a “big loss” an presents a “big challenge” fo the yoga retreat.

The regional director for the East Shore of Kootenay Lake says the fire that badly damaged the temple at Yasodhara Ashram this month is a “big loss” that presents a “big challenge” for the yoga retreat.

Garry Jackman (pictured below) visited the burned Kootenay Bay landmark both in his elected role and as a builder and structural engineer, although he is not a paid consultant.

“We discussed options for removal and demolition,” he said. “It’s not your regular let’s-frame-a-house with-your-neighbor project. This is not going to be remedied in a few months.”

The fire broke out on the evening of June 5 in the structure’s domed roof and took crews about 12 hours to put out. Although the cause is unknown, it appears to have started between the outer roof and an inner stucco ceiling. No one was injured.

Jackman said before the fire they were actually talking about enlarging the water storage tank along Riondel Road to refill the local fire department’s pumper and provide additional fire support for the ashram. Unfortunately, the idea hadn’t yet come to fruition.

Jackman called the ashram an “economic driver” for the East Shore. “It draws a lot of visitors and it’s important to the community as a whole.”

On the bright side, he said the fire demonstrated the effectiveness of an automatic aid agreement recently adopted between the Riondel and Balfour-Harrop fire departments. The ashram blaze was the first time the latter department has responded to a structural fire on the East Shore.

Previously, the departments had a mutual aid agreement which saw Balfour-Harrop provide back-up in several serious car accidents, but Jackman said it required several steps to authorize. The automatic aid agreement is “much quicker and more effective.”

“The Riondel water supply is limited, so having the other pumper or tender coming with additional  supply and additional firefighters made a huge difference,” he said. “It worked out as well as it possibly could.”

The temple was built in 1992 based on the longtime vision of Swami Sivananda Radha and was used for daily devotional services.

The ashram has set up a page on its website to keep people up to date about rebuilding efforts on the temple. Although the temple was not covered by fire insurance, for several years they have been creating a self-insurance fund. However, the costs of deconstruction and rebuilding are expected to exceed the fund. They are accepting donations and will be asking for help later during rebuilding.

Meanwhile, the ashram is proceeding with its 19th annual Strawberry Social next Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

“This year, it feels particularly meaningful to welcome our neighbours and come together to recognize and celebrate our strength in community,” said Daniel Séguin, with the ashram. “We’ll also be offering a special thank you to the emergency services crews that came out to help us on the night of the fire.”

Just Posted

Slocan Valley added to communities on flooding evac alert

Kootenay Lake is expected to reach flooding level in Nelson by Friday

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

COLUMN: Making a wildlife smart community

David White writes how property owners can avoid conflict with nature

Police searching for Nelson man

Brent Mickelson hasn’t been heard from since February

Local police recognized for work

Eight officers were honoured for removing impaired drivers

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Most Read