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Learn about some of the achieveiments in our society's story, all thanks to people like you.

Building a Boardwalk

Watters CRIS s

Derek Watters filled his 57 years of living with rewarding and meaningful experiences. His family honoured Derek's life by providing Agur Lake Camp with a board walk in his name. Derek died in 2010. The board walk was built in the meadow at ALC in 2012.

Derek was diagnosed with Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in his teens. It gradually limited his mobility as he grew older, but this did not stop him from living a full life. At 19 he set out to back-pack around North America with his high school friend. He later earned a B.Sc. from Trent University and a B.Ed. from Queen's University. Though he received his teaching certificate from Queen's, he was not able to teach. He was employed by McMaster University, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology until his illness took its toll. An active and vocal advocate for the rights of the disabled and for rational thinking, when he moved to Kelowna in 2006 he brought these passions with him. He wrote a column for Kelowna Capital News which he titled disAbility disPatch and sat on the mayor's advisory council for the disabled in Kelowna. At the opening of the W.R. Bennett bridge in Kelowna in 2008 he crossed the bridge with the mayor to demonstrate how that structure met the needs of citizens, including those with mobility problems. He participated in People in Motion and the Community Recreational Initiatives Society. He visited the ALC site before construction had started, and was enthusiastic about its goals. Poet Amanda Lewis on meeting Derek was inspired to write a poem, which appears in her book, One. He was a member of the Canadian Humanist Association and MENSA, a prolific letter writer and a formidable scrabble player.


Derek learned about the building of Agur Lake through his network and was excited by its potential. The decision to create the board walk in Derek's name was made by his parents Lena and Wendell Watters of Penticton, and his sisters Beverley Watters of Calgary and Elizabeth Watters of Penticton. It seemed fitting, both in his advocacy for disabled rights and opportunities, and his love of nature that interpretive signs will be erected in the future to assist visitors in identifying the flora and fauna along the board walk.

The Oline Smith Legacy

Oline (pronounced Oleene) Smith donated almost $30,000 as her legacy to ALCS. The gift came in two installments.

Smith Oline 002

The first in early 2011 for about $23,000 and the second in 2012 for approximately $6,700. Though Oline had never visited the camp herself, friends and neighbours had told her about it. Janice Perrino, chair of the Penticton Hospital Foundation, talked to Oline about that Foundation and about ALC. Oline decided to leave money to both causes. She was an avid reader and stayed well informed about happenings in and around Penticton. 

Oline lived in Pentiction for about 14 years, including 9 years as neighbours of Bill and Grace Sawarin. The later part of that time she lived in a condo, still keeping track of her many friends. Oline was a wonderful cook and a terrific seamstress.  She was a great conversationalist, could talk about anything contemporary and historical and was a fabulous friend to those who knew her. She was in hospital during that final month of her life. 

Prior to moving to Penticton, she and her husband owned a motel at Gallagher Lake and before that they lived and worked in Wells, BC. Oline did not have any children and her closest family live in eastern Canada. 

A quote from an eulogy about Oline: "There was no one more like an angel than Oline. And it is just like an angel that she passed away on Christmas Day". 

 Let your caring live can make it happen through your will, an endowment fund or donation

The Central Okanagan Foundation

Central Okanagan Foundation logo

The Central Okanagan Foundation's mission is to provide an ongoing contribution to the quality of life in our community through the stewardship of entrusted funds, grant making and community leadership. Support from the Central Okanagan Foundation helped ensure that two of the cabins have running water for kitchen and bathroom facilities.


Darrell Butler - Housing Trades Instructor


Darrell (middle) examining plans with two students, Adam Milanovic and Rhonda Johnson

Darrell Butler has been teaching students in building trades classes at Okanagan College for five years. Last year he worked with a class to build two cabins for Agur Lake Camp. This year he is working with a new class to continue the cabin building. His students do the construction work as part of their trades training. Each cabin is constructed in two units on campus, and the units are then taken by truck to the camp and placed on their foundations there. The students lay the foundations, form footings and walls and place the concrete. Once the students install the windows and doors, the walls and ceiling are insulated. They finish the interior with Hardie Panel siding and Smart Trim. The interior walls and ceiling are finished with tongue and groove pine, and the cabinets are installed. Finally they complete the job with roofing and aluminium soffets. Darrell performs the teaching roles for the students, and Chuck Edwards carries out the organizational responsibilities of a contractor.

Another responsibility that Darrell took on in the course, was to attend Building Committee meetings run by the ALC Board. There needs to be an on-going liaison between him, his students and the Society, for all the pieces to fit into place properly.

Darrell notices a unique attitude in his students when it comes to working on buildings that will be used by special needs campers. The students are especially eager to work on a project like this. But not only do they learn their trade, they learn a bit about modifying building designs to meet the needs of people with special needs.

Following the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding in March, construction of the third cabin will begin in April of 2012. Agur Lake Camp Society, Okanagan College, CM Edwards Construction and School District 67 Okanagan Skaha are partners in this project. Darrell will be there to help make it happen!


Dave Phillips Designs and Builds a Pavilion

"The pavilion will give you the sense that no matter where you come in you feel like you are coming in the main door." That's what Dave Phillips says about the building he has designed for Agur Lake Camp. Once you are inside he hopes you will look out in any direction and experience the tranquility of the lake and trees.

Dave's yard, in a rural property south of Oliver, is stacked with fir beams, with ends already cut with off-angle grooves. He explains that the finished structure will be neither square nor oval. There will be arches displaying the natural grain of the wood. The final shape? Well, "It will stick out the sides a bit in sort of a proud manner!" Dave suggests. I can tell he is proud of how it will look.

Working with wood became a passion for Dave when he was a boy. That led him into a career in forestry, but somehow that wasn't the right fit. Nearly five years ago he and his wife moved to the Okanagan, and Dave launched into a second career, one where he can smell the wood and shape it with his tools. He calls it Wine Country Timber Craft. (

The wood for the pavilion comes from the mountains near Okanagan Falls. The Fir Bark Beetle has killed the trees, and rather than letting them rot, they are harvested. Dave has engaged the nearby Okanagan Log and Timber Company to cut the beams. He likes the precision of their work because it makes his job much easier. Even so, he still measures many time before he makes a cut.

Chuck Edwards Heads Student Construction Crew

Chuck Edwards Heads Student Construction Crew

Chuck Edwards has been doing construction work for forty years and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge that he is now sharing. Besides running C.M. Edwards Construction he is taking a course to qualify him as an instructor at Okanagan College and volunteering to supervise the students who are building the first cabin to the lock-up stage for Agur Lake Camp. His role is to guide the students in construction procedures and to be sure that the BC Building Code is followed.

I interviewed Chuck just as he was ending a lively conversation with Ken Sewell, manager of TIM-BR Mart in Summerland. Ken's company is donating the lumber necessary to build the first cabin, and Chuck was throwing the first load of planks on his truck. Both men exuded enthusiasm for doing what they can to make Agur Lake Camp a reality, and Chuck explained today's task this way:

"Today I'm picking up some lumber to build the blocks to actually start the floors on. We have to build a series of blocks to hold everything in the air. When the building is finished and we call for the truck it actually backs between the blocks and lifts the units off the blocks. Adult Lego, is what we call it!"

Students who complete this course can then qualify for their first year apprenticeship after serving 200 hours for a contractor.

For more about Chuck's business go to:


This year will be the year that Agur Lake Camp gets its first cabin, a gazebo, and, things going well, a start on the network of trails which will eventually criss-cross the property. To make that happen the Board has hired a Site Planner. Chris Allen from the architectural firm of Allen + Maurer was chosen to fill that position.

After seeing plans of the proposed camp on paper Chris' decided to walk the site, even though it was covered by snow. His philosophy is to retain the natural beauty of a site and to make construction and occupation as ecologically friendly as possible. To do that he needs perspective on the lay of the land.

"We try to design buildings that fit well into the landscape" he explained. "To do a camp is about enjoying nature. We try to place buildings at the edge of wonderful areas, and if we are taking out trees we make sure it is not on the best part of the site."

Apart from the biffy, the wells and the fence around the property, nothing has yet been put on the site. It is Chris' job to determine where buildings and trails will be placed, not just now, but for ten years down the road. He will, of course work in liaison with the Building Committee of the ALCS Board. But it will be his job to keep in mind the big picture as the players in the plan each do their thing, and the camp takes shape.

When asked why he was attracted to this job Chris replied "It is a great idea and an interesting concept. It is the kind of community project we think is important."

For information about Chris' architectural firm visit