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The Hotsprings owners have invested millions to re-develop the property. The dramatic decline of the forest industry put a halt on the financial viability of this extensive project.
CONTRIBUTION · 21st October 2011
Merv Ritchie
The Terrace Swimming pool recently had a couple of major renovations. The east wall of the building was completely replaced as the wood studs and plywood subwall was completely rotten and moulding. For some curious reason the City accepted the renovation replacement be another wooden structured wall. One would think the same thing is going to happen again. Swimming pools are moisture!

The reasoned thing to do would have been to construct the replacement wall with cinder bricks and some other material that was not going to replicate the same thing in a few years. The roof and siding was also replaced and the surface of the pool refurbished.

Terrace needs a full new recreation center; one with the ability to host many sports and competitive events. And the long term plan should include a new aquatic center as well.

Kitimat bit the bullet, applying the most advanced water treatment technology available to their new facility and the result is no chlorine smell, no burning eyes. Terrace needs to look to employing the same foresight and find a location to construct such a facility incorporating many more recreational and possibly, convention attributes. The Co-op land may be a good fit for some of this too. The City already owns it. Then, with a forward thinking plan, the old (present day) aquatic center could be torn down and a further addition added to the present day Arena and Sportsplex using the vacant plot where the swimming pool is now possibly for the parking area.

This is long term. To fund it the City will require more funds and borrowing money at a time when the entire world economy is in crises is not a wise plan. Interest rates fluctuate and no economist can predict what is coming in the future. The best guesses are that it will get much worse. Some predict the IMF will completely fail and nations will be in turmoil.

So as for borrowing anything, not a chance right now.

As for the Hotsprings, the property came up for bid many years ago and the former Mayor at the time was also the lawyer for a group of citizens wanting to purchase it. They formed a company called Lakelse Lake Hotsprings. They were unsuccessful in their attempt to buy the Hotsprings and the present owner Mr. Orleans was denied the right to use this name after he took over the operation. He then looked around and decided he would use the name of the local mountain where the water comes from and decided to use that name, hence Mount Layton Hotsprings.

Orleans spent millions constructing a new facility but when Skeena Cellulose and NSF (due to Danny Vaneiz and the BC Liberals) collapsed the logging industry here, the potential for conventions from the supportive economy to be prosperous was gone. Orleans could not justify spending millions more completing the new building and he kept the old facilities running as long as was reasonable.

Orleans focused on food production, animal husbandry and green houses. His farm is one of the only productive farms in the region. He grows wheat, barley, acres of potatoes, raises poultry, cattle, sheep, goats and much more.

He has also faced numerous stumbling blocks by authorities. Either set upon him or not, the demands have made things difficult for everyone, not just him. The Provincial government determined the hotsprings required Chlorine added to the water. Orleans refused claiming no one comes to a hot springs to sit in a chlorine bath.

He then determined to open a small indoor part of his facility to provide the therapeutic benefits of the hotsprings in a manner chlorine was not required. He designed it so the water would flow through straight from the source and down the drain. He followed the regulations that stated there was no need to add chlorine if the water flowed through at a set rate. The pool, though we did not measure it, is only about 15 feet square, the size of an average bedroom.

This still wasn't good enough. He was forced to even close this unless he poured chlorine into the water which was steadily going down the drain.

This is only a subjective opinion but it would appear Orleans has been facing ever increasing hostility from the northwest governmental and administrative community; this however being under the radar and attention of the wider community.

He gets blamed of course but most do not understand the background and the significant issues.

So then to answer your question directly, I believe a great plan would be, in conjunction with amalgamation, work together with Orleans and the Shames Mountain group (however that turns out) and feature his site with his green houses heated by the hotsprings water, his fabulous new convention center and the incredible ski hill and Shames. Terrace is a marvel to behold. We have it all. We just do not have unity.

We do not need to buy it, it is privately owned. We just need to start a dialogue and stop attacking a man who wants to do the same things you do. We need to stop attacking everyone who doesn't act, dress, behave or perform the way we want.

That seems to be a colonialist mindset the northwest still retains in some circles. It is time to look around and cooperate.
The new curved staircase rise from the first floor through to the second floor conference rooms.
The new curved staircase rise from the first floor through to the second floor conference rooms.
The convention center ceiling is all clear cedar and was well on its way to completion.
The convention center ceiling is all clear cedar and was well on its way to completion.
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 7th November 2011
There is important work to be done here. It is crucial for all to remain reality-based, including yourself. In keeping with my policy not to argue or fight, I will repeat:

Lach Gels is on Tsimshian Territory. Period.
The Haisla really need to mind their own businesses, and let us make the best of our own.
They know that! If we are going to do good things with the hotsprings, let us not make it another greedy circus......injected with Enbridge toxin, etc.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the meeting. People care, and that is important. Tsimshian have always shared all ways.

As an aside...."traplines" are to the Tsimshian like hedge funds are to you. There are no such things. Yet, they have been used to destroy nations.

Whii Nea ach.
Speaker, Waap Gitxon.
Eagle, Kitsumkalum.
Tsimshian Nation.
British Columbia,
"Our" beautiful natural HOT Springs & Bert
Comment by Al A on 6th November 2011

I refer everyone to a 1986 Province of B.C. Enviromental study of Lakelse Lake. On page 14 it gives some history of then "Skoglund Hot Springs" Actually the whole 74 pages is a good read. After I read this I have more questions than answers about Berts' play ground.
1. Why have we not heard a word from our regional District regarding anything about our issue---- is not Allan Lanctot our represenative. I would love to hear his comments! Or is the RDKS only worried about pushing their new landfill down our throats without proper consultation.
2. My wife and I had Fish and Wildlife officers inspect our Lakelse property last year. They noticed we had installed a new Septic system on our property. They had many questions related to this which we answered politely. My wife then asked these same officers why Bert's cows were allowed to not only drink from the lake but leave major Cow Patties all over the beautiful sandy beach. Bert DOES not own the foreshore
They abruptly left. Is not water quality one of our major issues?
2. If Bert can not find the time or the cash to at least maintain the hot springs, what about his effluent treatment plant that discharges down a submerged pipe into the canal that was so nicely dug from the lake onto his property? I would love to see the health department have a look at this. The hoops and costs that my wife and I went through to install a proper modern effluent treatment plant that was acceptable to all the goverment agencies were large, BUT we did it as it was the RIGHT thing to do.
3. My understanding, correct me if I am wrong please, is now Bert has been given a licence for an Abattoir. Meaning he has permission for a slaughterhouse! O.K. , yep that's a real bonus for our hot springs. Oh, by the way, I am wondering where all the liquid waste products are being processed?
4. This all brings me back to thinking about that sewage pipe going into our lake
It makes me wonder IF Berts' real problem is the Chlorine issue or is it along the lines of running a commercial/industrial effluent treatment system accepatable to all the gov't agencies that my wife and I had to deal with hmmm. Has any goverment department ever looked at his effluent?
5. How do we as citizens of this great north coast and this great natural hot springs get our hands on the original sales agreement for the Hot Springs Property? Why all the secrets?? 6. How could our own goverment just GIVE such a special, pristine , natural place to just one idividual? This hot springs has been used for thousands of years by all. Now it's turned into a dilapidated eye sore.
7. Bert, I asked that you delete your Hot Springs web site, PLEASE! We do get friends and tourists to our area that have gone to your web site and when they actually see the real deal it is truly an embarrasment to all of us and yes we all hear the comments. At least do that for us.
8. Why no comments from our good neighbours in Kitimat or Prince Rupert? They, like us , have used this hot springs for years. I am kinda disappointed. Let's truly get all our neighbours involved here.
9. BOTH Terrace and Kitimat Council not only support the ski hill deal they both gave them cash. They said it was the right thing to do as it brings people to the region! O.K. , for argument sake: I would like someone to crunch some numbers please. How many people a year come to ski versus how many come to Lakelse Lake?? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Ski Hill but would not adding a our beautiful Hot Springs to our list of attractions complement one another?

In closing (for now) I would hope that eventually Bert and his family truly gets our message that the people want the use of the peoples' natural resource again!

Remember: We are all just passing through this world and we are all here for a very short time on this planet. Bert, you might think you OWN this Hot Springs BUT actually you have been blessed as the "Caretaker" for a brief moment in time. Please do the right thing for all the people not just for yourself.
James Ippel
Comment by Louise M on 6th November 2011
First of all, I'd like to comment on the article by James Ippel which states that Mr. Orleans worked hard and spent mega bucks to establish a world class resort and the crown jewel would have been the 18 hole golf course.
Obviously, you haven't been listening to a word that the people writing in are saying. The golf course, the raising of livestock, the farming, the Greenhouse, etc. is not the ISSUE.
The CROWN JEWEL and the ISSUE we have been discussing is the natural mineral springs which have proven therapeutic benefits, and have existed for thousands of years. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE NOW BEING DEPRIVED OF.

The Coast Tsimshian and Haisla people made therapeutic use of these springs for hundreds of years and now Mr. Orleans has turned the property into his own little hobby farm. I believe that these natural mineral springs are a Natural Phenomenon that occurs very rarely on this universe and belong to ALL OF US. If we have to resort to Government interference to acquire this back for the people than so be it. I'm sure that Mr. Orleans will be well compensated.

I totally agree with Karen's comments about her very recent trip to this World Class Resort where she witnessed for herself the results of the Mega Bucks that Mr. Orleans has spent. Apparently the disintegrations are happening at a much faster pace than the attempts to repair the place. Thank you Karen.

To quote Mr. Orleans at the recent meeting which was held at the Sportsplex on 2 November, "It has been a very expensive hobby". Yes, I agree, hobby being the key word. If anyone is skeptical about any of the disparaging comments that have been made about this WORLD CLASS RESORT, why not go out for a Sunday drive, view the place for yourself and report your findings to us at the next ACTION COMMITTEE MEETING tentatively scheduled for February.
Summary by Karen
Comment by blocky bear on 6th November 2011
Thank you Karen for the summary of the meeting. I thought it brief,accurate and to the point. I also thought your comprehensive report on the current condition of the installation very informative. A lot of people I spoke to before the meeting expressed an interest in having the hotsprings functional again but had other engagements so where unable to attend. I think that if the next meeting is better advertised attendance will be much greater.
Bring the subject back to the top?
Comment by Steve on 6th November 2011
Thanks for the update from the meeting. It was obvious from the amount of comments made on the original story that this is near and dear to many people. Is it possible to bring this back to the top of the page so that people can see the update of the meeting. It is not exactly easy to find the story now that it has gotten so far down the list. Thanks :)
Comment by Karen on 5th November 2011
About 25 people showed up for the meeting on Mount Layton Hotsprings including Bert and Marlene Orleans and their daughter, Monica. We were all given a chance to express our reasons for attending the meeting of which the predominant one was pertaining to the community feeling cheated by not having this resource at their disposal.

Mrs. Orleans pointed out many of the problems they had been having with keeping the pools open including government bureaucracy, declining patronage, availability of funds and disagreements on how to deal with water quality.

A short-term employee of the hotsprings pointed out that there have been some big improvements at the site and invited those present to come out and see for themselves....which my husband and I did.

Driving into the parking lot at Mount Layton was no different today than it was fifteen years ago except for obvious further degredation of the structures. The pealing green paint of the waterslides gives the visitor a good idea of what is in store for them. Cats still skulk around the entrance, the Expo 86 spaceship waterpark that never did work sits rotting in place, dozens of weed filled buckets adorn the backside of the hotel adding to the decrepit lumber storage sheds that make up the view greeting those who stay in the hotel rooms. Plastic sheeting is still a large commodity to attempt to ward off further desintigration of the shrouded structures that signify an abandoned dream.

From the interior one enters the eighties with little to signify that an attempt has been made to keep up with the times. To give the management credit though, the cafeteria no longer sports the sporadic 5 gallon buckets which collected the incessant leaks from the yellowed ceiling tiles. Apparently the roof, which leaked for more than 15 years, that I know of, has been repaired and the ceiling has been drywalled and textured in near-modern 90's spackling. The pools, that are supposed to be under construction, according to a sign at the front desk, have not been touched for at least two years.

As the lounge was not open we were not able to view the pride of the establishment...the resurrection of the Splash-down pool which Mrs. Orleans pointed out has been graciously offered, free of charge, for the use to patrons of this establishment.

We spoke to a very pleasant young woman who did point out that improvements are being steadily made and that it cannot happen all at once. Unfortunately, from what we witnessed, the disintegration is happening at a far faster pace than the attempts to repair the place.

We can all be assured though that, according to Mrs. Orleans, they have worked incessantly for many years and injected a huge amount of money to make the hotsprings what it is today. What sums up the whole issue, in my opinion, is a comment made by Mr. Orleans at the meeting when he said, "It has been a very expensive hobby".

(A follow-up meeting is planned in February to determine what, if anything, can be done to help the Orleans make the pools accessible again to the public.)

What was the outcome ?
Comment by Steve on 3rd November 2011
I was not able to attend the meeting on November 2nd regarding the Hotsprings. Wondering what the outcome was??
To every problem
Comment by blocky bear on 29th October 2011
There is a solution, someone wiser than myself stated. Please come to the solution meeting at Terrace Sportsplex November 2nd, invite your family and friends, you two,to,too, Mr.Orleans.d.b.
Hey, Don't shoot the messenger!!!
Comment by Maggie Jo on 28th October 2011
To MLR...don't shoot the messenger.

I was merely providing the public with the website link to ratings on restaurants in town.

And, FYI...I ceased all dealings with the Hotsprings YEARS ago after hearing complaint after complaint after complaint from tourists/locals about the lack of mere safety precautions to the people who frequented that "circus of an arena".

Did you ever wonder why you're suddenly sliding faster on the waterslides then the previous year? Yeah...put your fingernail down on your slide downwards and collect all the slippery mold inside the waterslides on your way down! OH! And don't forget to check the windows for mold 1/2 way up their windows too! (Sorry, but bleach is pretty inexpensive to purchase, so there is no excuse for that.)

My husband and I bit the bullet to give the Hotsprings yet another chance by staying there one night; despite the complaints we had heard/experienced about the establishment. BIG MISTAKE! There was mold EVERYWHERE - including inside the hotel rooms. Uh....isn't this a health hazard?! Is NO ONE trained to deal with these issues on site?

In any event....KUDO's to Mr. Orleans for his pipe dream. Too bad it didn't fair out.

So...what now???
Blocky Bear.
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 26th October 2011
Yes, my friend G. was romancing his beloved on a beautiful, coo..ool, starlit night at one of those pools of which you Lach Gels.

Graceful as a swan, and naked as a jaybird.....he dove as per usual. Some bugger put boulders in his favourite pool out there.....and G. had a goose-egg for days. He's been mad about it ever since. I better see him there on the 2nd.
yoo hoo Mr. Ippel
Comment by blocky bear on 26th October 2011
I`ll say it again for your benefit: there are no mineral hotsprings available to soak in. Zero,none,zip pools to enjoy and nothing in the forseeable future. Mr. Orleans even spent the time and money to trash the errant springs in the bushes that the stalwart might frequent. Do you have a remedy for this sad situation? Please attend the upcoming meeting at the Sportsplex on Nov.02 and exercise your freedom of speech. Don Bruce
Louise M
Comment by James Ippel on 26th October 2011
Please read my earlier post. Mr Orleans worked hard and spent mega bucks to establish a world class resort. The crown jewel would have been the 18 hole golf course.
He was screwed by The DFO at every turn in the building of the course. He finally gave up pouring money into a bottomless pit.
Now you want the Gov't to take away his property and give it to someone else? Give your head a shake.
A number of years ago I approached a member of Terrace City Council and suggested that their Tourist Bureau, Mount Layton Hotsprings, Shames Mountain Ski Corporation, and Ski Smithers sit down together and work at putting together Ski Packages that would incorporate these three facilities. Ski Smithers for a few days, stay at the Hotsprings and ski Shames. A 7 day package, properly advertised would have gone over well. People who ski, like diversity, and will travel to ski different hills. Bottom line---nothing was done, my idea pooh poohed, I was not a member of the "In Crowd".
I put forth another suggestion-Terrace now has lots of property. I speak of the mill property. I suggested that Costco be invited to build a store in Terrace. Again the same attitude. We don't have to population base for Costco. Funny, Canadian Tire, and Wal-Mart were quick to realize that we have a trading area that stretches from the Bulkley Valley to the Queen Charlotte Islands, from the Yukon Border to south of Kitimat. Maybe an incentive could have been offered-lower taxes for the first 5 years, and then the same at other business.
What Terrace needs if leadership with the ability to look into the future, instead of the dismissive attitude to what I think were good ideas.

Respectfully submitted.
Chena Hotspring
Comment by Louise M on 26th October 2011
I have viewed the website and agree that this natural resource area has been developed into a beautiful natural mineral springs site that everyone can enjoy. The outdoor mineral pool (minus the rocks) reminds me of the original pool that existed when I moved to Kitimat 37 years ago long before Mr. Orleans decided to bulldoze it over. I strongly believe that this issue can only be resolved by lobbying the provincial/federal government to expropriate the natural mineral springs pool areas and offer it for tender in the hopes that someone can actually develop it into a world class resort as obviously Mr. Orleans has failed miserably.
To the descendents of Grey Owl (aka, Archibald Belaney
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 26th October 2011
Grey Owl was Canada's first conservationist, and was passionately loved (and dumped) by a beautiful Mohawk woman....whom I met! He was a passionate beaver advocate, and fought to the death. His proud great-grandson, David Grey McKay....who was a hell-raiser at Cassie Hall Elementary resides in Calgary with his beautiful family.

My Godson, "Grey" knows the story of beavers, from coast to coast. To him, it is the history of Canada. That is why the beaver is on the back of the nickel. On November 2, Grey will be hard at work in Calgary.....bricklaying.
Comment by James Wold on 26th October 2011
Hello Blocky Bear

I went on the chena hotsprings web site it is amazing but it does not surprise me at all because if you want things done the americans people will do it. It is not because the americans are smarter than canadians it is because the american politicians allow the people to live their dreams that is what makes america great. I know from personal experience what it feels like to have local and provincial politicians pushing me around , telling me what I can or can't do . This is not personal it applies to most all small Canadian dreamers. Thank god for this web site.
Chena Hotsprings
Comment by blocky bear on 25th October 2011
To see what a small community outside Fairbanks Alaska was able to develope with their resource go to
A nice lady who lives at the Lake (she is known for feeding the swans) contributed this. d.b.

If anyone would like to contact me:
"to get back on track"
Comment by blocky bear on 25th October 2011
I thought the salient issue being being discussed in this forum was "hotsprings". Now it seems to be about goats,growing potatoes, golf course, world class hotel (????? not stars).
I know what is important, my arthritic joints tells me constantly! d.b.
Thanks Barry
Comment by James Ippel on 24th October 2011
At least we agree on this issue. I am sure you can sympathize with Mr Orleans, and his quest to build a world class resort here.
I know Mr Boychuk very well, and he told me many times of the trials Bert went thru trying to make a good thing of the Hotsprings, and the hurdles he had to overcome with DFO. In the end, Bert gave up, turned to farming, and I am surprised that DFO has'nt stepped in and shut him down because some cow PEE might seep into a fish bearing puddle.
It is a well know fact that if water moves from one puddle to another, it immediately becomes "Fish Habitat," "Fish Rearing" or "Fish Bearing."
I still question where these people got their education. It sure wan'nt at the U of C.S.
Animal Husbandry?
Comment by humblefarm on 24th October 2011
I would hesitate to call what is done at the Hot Springs 'Animal Husbandry'. I can think of lots of other terms that would be more appropriate!

A new vision is needed. Farming is great, tourism is great - but what ever it is it needs to be done in a consistant, competant manner with oversight and analysis by knowledgeable individuals.
Thanks James
Comment by barryeng on 24th October 2011
I don't often agree with James Ippel but this time he is right. Beaurocratic stupidity and the owner's stubborness have jointly contributed to the mess we have at the Hot Springs now.
Here and now Mr. Ippel
Comment by blocky bear on 23rd October 2011
Here and now! d.b.
Get your facts straight Maggie
Comment by MLR on 23rd October 2011
To Maggie Jo -
I feel you should actually look at what it said on the site you posted concerning your comment about NOT eating at the Hotsprings because the rating was in red ? also look at the date and read
( If you Know how ) the comments .
Comment by James Ippel on 23rd October 2011
Most of you have the solutions for the advancement of the Hotsprings, but few of you have lived here long enough, or used the Hotsprings as they were.
Barryeng, and I, both remember using these facilities in the fifties, and later. Mr Skoglund ran a supurb establishment, and after he relingquished owership to the Gov't, it went to hell in a handbasket.
Along comes Mr. Orleans with a vision for this property, and he was thwarted at every turn. His largest oponent was the Dept. Of Fisheries and Oceans. He had an 18 hole golf course laid out, and DFO kept shooting him down. Each request by the DFO was done by Mr. Orleans, and they would find something else. He finally became discourgaged with fighting with DFO and hired Mr Don Boychuk to turn his Golf Course into a potatoe field (very successful I might add) and turn another portion into farmland.
Then we have the newcomer to Terrace (2006) who becomes an instant expert on how the golf course was built on marsh land. If it supports Agriculture, it would support Golf Carts, as well as Farm Tractors.
Gov't interference screwed the hotsprings from being as successful venture, and as is often the case, the educated beauracrats lack the common sense to make industry work. I am sure a lot of them take Stupidity 101 as a major when they go to school.
How about a live-theatre space?
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 23rd October 2011
Skeena River Players (First Nations theatre society) hopefully still has the energy/ interest of Tsimshian Simoighets and Sigdmhana'as sitting on its dormant board. So much has been going on, and its all is difficult to get their ears. Communications are always in person with them/us.

I will be in line, seeking a home for our theatre...under the stars, at Lach Gels.
If the other chiefs change my mind by meeting time, I will retract this humble offering.

could be an asset to our community
Comment by newish to terrace on 23rd October 2011
I have been in Terrace for a few years now. I have never experienced the hot springs here, but I have heard wonderful stories of my husband childhood, the birthday parties he had there and so on. I realize it is on privately owned property, but it would be really nice to see some sort of family fun park/sports park. In addition to the hot springs there could be batting cages, go carts, mini putt, driving range, rock climbing, indoor playland, volley ball courts, picnic area, music festival area... to name a few. This could really be turned into something where people would want to bring thier families too, have parties, company retreats... a real asset to our commuity! It really sounds like Mr. Orleans need to hire someone to come in, with a vision, and just take over.
Mr. Orleans:
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 23rd October 2011
You have in your loving hands the pearl of the northwest. I know you love it like we do, and that is why we are reaching out to you now. We respect you. We have always been here, watching. You are the richest non-Tsimshian in the territory, and I know we can help you if you meet with us, at the Rich McDaniel Room at the arena.. next month.

We are all strangers now, but we all love those hotsprings......just like you.

No to corporations. No to unions. No to chlorine. There is a beaver highway there. Animals are okay, but no lions or tigers.

The totem pole has the beaver on the bottom, and like all traditional Tsimshian poles.....the Eagle is on top, and there will be no paint.

Start the meeting with a prayer, because that is all we have in this regard.
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 23rd October 2011
As is evidenced by the top picture, Orleans was obviously intending to provide a great new addition to the Northwest. As many employees like to bitch, the bosses haven't a clue what they are doing. I personally do not know the contract deal either but I do know that expropriation is a dangerous path to begin travelling. Similar to some other comments on this site about using water cannons to disperse the "Occupy" protestors; after we begin doing this it doesn't take long to use the next measure, bullets and tanks running over peaceful protestors like Tianamun Square in China.

I care about the Hotsprings. I have used hotsprings all over BC, Halcyon (near Nakusp)was one of my favorities. Outside wooden pools made by other users until a developer purchased it and locked up the territory. But one thing I would not do is sit in a hot spring chlorine bath.

And if one was to look deeper into everything other than the disgusting mess that is on the property now, one might find a different appreciation.

We all talk about local food security and even the local group headed up by Ms Penner made a presentation suggesting they use the hotsprings property for this purpose. It already is used for this purpose. Who else do you know in the region that operates a wheat and barley field with a swather and combine?

I am running for Mayor of Terrace, not to be a dictator of the Northwest and all the prime tourist attractions. This requires an understanding and awareness not an angry, "He's not doing it right, take it from him!" attitude. This is beginning to sound like the Shames Mountain crowd that attacked all the sitting Councillors and the Mayor for not giving them all the money they asked for; $200,000 or acting as they wanted them to.

We are still fortunate the Geo Thermal companies were unsuccessful as their drilling might have interrupted the flow and we could have lost the Hotsprings forever.
Hotsprings or Animal Husbandry?
Comment by Louise M on 23rd October 2011
I totally disagree with Merv Ritchie's comments and very sympathetic views towards the management of the Mount Layton Hotsprings which I have witnessed over the past twenty years as a complete shambles and mismanagement of a wonderful natural resource which I believe belongs to all of us. As I understand it, this parcel of land was sold to Mr. Orleans by the provincial government for the purpose of operating a Hotsprings for the enjoyment of the public (not a Hobby Farm for his own enjoyment.) The animals that he has on his property are allowed to graze on the shores of Lakelse Lake leaving feces all over the beach area. I have witnessed this personally while walking along the sand and dodging the mine fields. I have mentioned this to the DFO who came up with the solution of providing funds so that Mr. Orleans could build a fence? As the terms and conditions of the original Purchase Agreement are not available, I would suggest that the previous group known as the Lakelse Lake Hotsprings Co. which had retained the mayor at that time as their counsel may shed some light on this. Also, since this agreement was negotiated with the government, I agree with Bryan N's comments that the government should expropriate a small part of his holdings, namely the natural mineral springs pool areas and tender it out for bidding to interested parties.
Lach Gels:
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 22nd October 2011
We speak here of (disputed) territory of the Esteemed Tsimshian Eagle House of Gitxon, Kitsumkalum, B.C.

There will be no records (oral or written) of Lach Gels leaving the iron grip of the people (whom we serve) .... into "private" hands. The Social Credit, provincial government knew this. Legally, this is federal land. Welcome to Tsimshian territory, Mr. Orleans.

We can "forget it" for another twenty years. Our nieces and nephews will still be here begging, "Let us back in to frolic, soak, meet and tell lies!"

And, as you can see "the people" are reluctant to let Lach Gels go so easily.
what a loss to the area
Comment by Bryan N on 22nd October 2011
Generally, I consider myself a conservative, but in the case of the Hot Springs I would be more than happy to see the government step in. Mr. Orleans has control of what should be an asset enjoyed by many and an area attraction.
When I arrived here in 2005 the pools were open, even one waterslide. It was evident though that much of what was built wasn't done right, such as the stairs to the waterslide where you could see plywood and insulation. Mr. Orleans appears to have started out with little planning, trying to build one of everything (?) instead of something decent. Since then it has been nothing but a slow progression of deterioration. Perhaps some of the plans he had were started without proper consultation with authorities, such as trying to build a golf course on what is essentially a wetland, and trying to dig canals to the Lake.
It is truly sad that the most significant memory I have is of almost hitting his goats while they roamed out onto the highway, not once but twice.
This could and should be a local tourism asset, maybe not Banff, but it should be capable of drawing folks from Haida Gwaii to Burns Lake and north to Dease Lake. When people come to Terrace, they should want to go to the Hot Springs. Instead, Mr. Orleans has held onto control all while watching it turn into a local disappointment.
I know these are only rumours, but I've heard many times that Mr. Orleans is not short of money, and has not wanted to sell when asked to. Is it right that someone holds onto such an asset, a natural wonder, yet do nothing with it?
I would be in favour of the government expropriating at least part of his holdings and then opening up some type of bidding proposal, or request for expression of interest. Imagine what the place could be like if owned by the folks from the Crest Hotel?? Or? At this point I think the best thing would be for someone to come in and start from scratch.
Thank you Janice P.
Comment by blocky bear on 22nd October 2011
Thank you for getting me straight on the name Lach Gels. This is the tentative name for the Hotsprings Action Committee, the official name will be decided by democratic vote at the first meeting. Once again the meeting is 7:00 p.m. November 2nd in the Rich McDaniel room at the Terrace Sportsplex. d.b.
"What Karen said"
Comment by blocky bear on 22nd October 2011
I second the motion. Please attend The Meeting Karen. d.b.
In depth reporting on the Geo Thermal aspects
Comment by Terrace Daily News on 22nd October 2011
If you type the two words "geo" and "thermal" into the search bar in the drop down menu at the top of this page "Help and Options" you will be shown stories written on the debates and discusssions for June and September of 2009. Various reports are referenced in these articles.
Gold mine
Comment by Sheila on 22nd October 2011
I have been very disapointed with the lack of progress of the hotsprings. Mr Orleans has no interest in doing anything with the property or he would have done it by now. I know people who have worked there and they have been frustrated with the fact that this could be a great facility it just needs someone who has a vision. I think if he has no intention of doing anything with the land he should move over and let someone else in. This could be a great place for all to enjoy, instead it is a major eye sore that makes my blood boil everytime I drive by it.
Comment by Karen on 22nd October 2011
First off, no one is suggesting that the hotsprings be forced from Mr. Orleans' grasp without legal justification. What I would like is an answer as to why it has been impossible for at least three, that I know of, competent people to get their hands on a contract drawn up between the Social Credit government and Mr. Orleans. A contract that supposedly lays out the obligations Mr. Orleans has to the public in regards to ensuring that this resource remains a benefit to surrounding communities in return for what has been rumoured to be a steal of a deal on the property and possibly water rights too. It perturbs me to no end that such a valuable public jewel has been hoarded, turned into a barnyard/hayfield and allowed to deteriorate to such a level that it is now a huge embarrasement rather than the asset it should be.

IMO, the only reason that the Hotsprings continues to be open to the public is because Mr. Orleans is legally obligated to do so by this contract. It is way past time to unearth this evasive contract and discover how well Mr. Orleans has been holding up his end of the bargain to the people of the Northwest.

Second, before anyone starts campaigning for the development of a thermal hydro energy plant more research must be done to determine if such a project would end up destroying other desireable industries such as a large scale greenhouse. Although I cannot find the study done by Dr. Norma Kirby there is reason to be concerned that multiple uses for the resource are mutually exclusive.
Maggie Jo ~~going to the restaurant
Comment by blocky bear on 22nd October 2011
Hey M.J.,I checked the link. I see the rating in red, I think it means that it might be dangerous to eat there. F.Y.I. I remember seeing of late an advert for cook employment there at Mt. Layton Resort. d.b.

P.S.~~~ November 2nd 2011 Rich McDaniel room at the Terrace Sportsplex. The very first meeting of Lach Gels Hotsprings Action Committee. (one t or two?) Thank you Janice P.. d.b.
Nor would i want to.
Comment by Ian on 22nd October 2011
I would never forward the thought of obconding someone property. However, if the Terrace Mayors office works with the owner and other goverment agencies to develop a Thermal hydro project through using the natural hotspring then the area benifits.
By doing this we may attract other business and industry to develop the much awaited airport industrial lands

Hot Springs history
Comment by barryeng on 22nd October 2011
My memories of the Hot Springs go back to the 50's. At that time we had to walk in, from Lakelse Lake. There were several wooden tubs sunk in the ground around the main pool, and the remains of a log structure that was the original lodge. Even then, and at a very young age I could see the potential of the place.

As I grew up in Terrace, so did the Hot Springs. Ray Skoglund developed it into a world class operation during the 60's and 70's. There were two pools, a hotel (and guest cabins), horseback riding trails, a canal from the lake, a pub, a lounge and a cabaret, and even a small ski hill. I learned to swim, and to be a life guard there during this time, and have very good memories of the Hot Springs of old.

Not so now. I have family members who have worked there since it became Mount Layton, and I have tried, because of fond memories of the glory days, to support the hot springs. It just cannot be done. Whether it was because of government interference, the economic downturn or the owner's intransigence is a moot point. The fact remains that the Mount Layton Hot Springs has now deteriorated to the point that a former jewel of the area has become nothing but an eyesore.

The future of the area could be in tourism because we do have world class possibilities. Shames Mountain, and Mount Layton are just two examples. Unfortunately lack of vision, and lack of proper management have killed these two jewels. Now, only a very large amount of private money can fix these places. The City of Terrace or the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine have neither the authority, nor the money to fix these problems. All we can do is try to find a big corporation, with deep pockets, and try to convince them of the potential that I saw fifty years ago.
Another side
Comment by Ian on 22nd October 2011
I ahve enjoyed the Hotsprings mutiple times over the 18 years that i have been visiting.
I can also appreciate the money and time that has gone into the owners investment to make an enterprise that was targetted to locals and tourists alike.
I believe that at one time a golf coarse was to be added to the area but never came to pass. I still think a Pitch and Put would be a great addition to the center.

The Hotsprings runs virtuallly year round.

Furthermore , in times of protest of construction of dams and power generation protests to the enviroment ,we are looking at a natural source of hydro electric production that has had mutiple stubbling blocks that would greatly be apprecated by tax payers in the area. Clean renewable energy that is continuous.
As to put the potentail recreation center in the CO-OP lands is not feasable. Part of the reasoning why the building is condemed is the foundation has be undermind by water. Years ago when the CO-OP was in opperation the main food sales floor had significant highs and lows, literally, because of water running underneath the building. Grieg avenue used to be a running slough of water heading to the Skeena River.
I thing a Rec Center is a good idea, and at one time the original plans for the second sheet of ice [ that was voted down twice by taxpayers] incorporated the design of a youth center with rooms and basketball nets outside. The price tag was too much.
Yes Kitimat bought the bullet and worked with large scale industrial financial input to bring the center forward. Unfortunatly Terrace doesn't have that type of industry to help get investment from.
We need to develop medium sized based industry here to help offeset our furture wishes and wants. A stable economy in the Northwest will help all, at all levels to get what we need and want.
Don't put the cart ahead of the horse. We have seen that before. Skeena Cellulose was bought with great expectations and benifit. They forgot one thing, they need a market to sell the product to first. You would think that when investment is required the end product needs to be markettted and sold before you can redeem the benifits.
And this is not Terrace, this is Area C of the RD
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 22nd October 2011
There are many issues outside of Terrace which might assist in bringing more financial health to Terrace residents. The paving of Cranberry Connector (New Aiyansh to Highway 37) is one which we can push the government on.

The Hot Springs is a private property. You may not like it but attempting to abscond with someone else's private property is not the type of government I would want to be a part of.

However all these fall far outside the jurisdiction of the City of Terrace. I would focus more on those issues within the boundaries of Terrace the Mayor and Council have authority and responsibility for.
Another side of the story
Comment by Karen on 22nd October 2011
I moved to Terrace in '94 to work as a log scaler at Skeena Cellulose and also got a job at the hotsprings doing dishes at night. The logging industry was doing very well at that time but Mr. Orleans' establishment was already in a down-ward spiral. I remember being perturbed by the 5 gallon buckets in strategic locations in the cafeteria to collect the drips from the leaky ceiling - yes those same buckets that were there the last time I was at Mount Layton originated in the early 90's! While doing my job my co-workers and myself would beat farm animals away from the back door of the kitchen and carefully pick our way around the abundant bird droppings on our way to the dumpster. Many of the 'improvements' had been started at that time but never finished, long before the logging industry began to tank. The exterior of the hotel wasn't a whole lot better than it is today so instead of constructing more buildings the original one should have been taken care of first. You cannot tell me that the economy was to blame for the eyesore when it was more than likely bad management.

Mr. Orleans, at one time, probably had great intentions but he really should have stuck to tugboats or farming.
Thank you Brad
Comment by blocky bear on 22nd October 2011
This reinforces my view of the Mt. Layton era of the hotsprings. My own history goes back to 1973 when I first came to Terrace as a young logger. It was then known as Skoglund Hotsprings and boasted the present pool which was aside from the two other pools that where integrated with the hotel proper. The hotel had numerous rooms, many offering direct access to the outdoor pool. Along the south side from the entrance to lobby was a large meeting/dining room/caberet sized room with an impressive vaulted ceiling. Directly behind was the beer parlour which accessed from the lobby and the parking lot. I remember taking my wife there in December and experiencing snowflakes coming down while we swam in the outside pool through the door of our room. Wonderful! d.b.
Inside Perspective
Comment by Brad on 21st October 2011
I worked as a lifeguard at Mount Layton Hotsprings probably putting in about 5 years there during its peak.

Things were busy the pools and hotel were full, but the brand new tiles on the deck were cracking, they had no texture and people were slipping and falling. Very little attempt was made to repair them and the solution was to cover the sharp and slippery parts with rubber mats and plywood.

UFO H2O came in but as its air and timing systems started to fail it became a decoration instead of an attraction.

The pools weren't the only things deteriorating so were the roofs of the cafeteria and dining rooms, the solution; poly, bricks and tires.

Without listing everything that started to deteriorate, the people started to leave as the holes and rot grew. Tourists were starting to learn the description and pictures in the brochures didn't represent the product.

I recall a new set of managers coming in (the whole family lived there) and they tried to make a difference as they actually cared, but they only lasted around a year before they gave up. They were not allowed to spend any money to make repairs unless not doing them would result in the closure of the facility. Even more frustrating during this time was that new buildings were being erected but we couldn't even buy paint.

I don't know the whole story on the plans for chlorine but I do seem to recall that in the begining regulation only required a trace amount (0.5ppm) of chlorine in the pools as we had this great ozone machine that was responsible for sanitization. As the machine started to break down and become less effective we were required to increase our levels. Also the only way to combat a pool covered in algae was chlorine and lifeguards with wire brushes.

There was a great site plan upstairs of future plans such as a golf course and camping and Orleans even went so far as to log the land and collect the money from the timber, but nothing emerged (except a battle from cabin owners as he tried to tell the government that the road to their cabins was abandoned and tried to close it. See Hansen road slightly past the springs).

I can't say that the resort would have survived the downturn but Bert had killed it long before then.

Hot Springs Please
Comment by Dude on 21st October 2011
I am hoping that the Hot Springs will be what they have in Radium and other areas. A more natural type pool would be my preference, but water slides and such would be ok. The National Park Service should take over and incorporate the lake and hot springs. This would make a whole new longterm addition to our area.
Hotsprings,more than one side to a story
Comment by blocky bear on 21st October 2011
You tell a story of Mt. Layton Hotsprings in a favourable light, this would be the period of Mr. Orleans stewardship. However I would present a very different version than points at a mismanagement of a resource than I truly believe belongs to all the people. If you ever had any business dealings with Bert Orleans you would not likely suggest the possibility of working with him.Moreover the current state of affairs at said hotsprings do nothing and promise nothing any hope for my poor arthritic joints. Don Bruce
And the restaurant? Check out THESE ratings.
Comment by Maggie Jo on 21st October 2011