Thief steals specialized building material from group restoring Shuswap church


A Shuswap society that has been working for years to restore Notch Hill Church near Salmon Arm has experienced a major blow.

Last week members noticed someone had stolen thousands of dollars worth of specialized planks meant to recreate the original building material used to construct the church which was built in 1922.

With the help of a lot of volunteer effort, the 1922 Notch Hill Church Society has installed a new foundation and rebuilt the roof and bell tower.

Using grant money from local government, they also had a particular size of Douglas fir, tongue and groove planks specially produced over the course of six months. The special wood was going to duplicate the original material used to finish parts of the church. While it was common at the time the church was built, it’s not anymore.

“Now it’s a very expensive wood and it is not manufactured. You can’t buy it. So we had cutting heads built and we had a mill custom run the lumber,” said society director Tim Dunne.

“It’s authentic. It’s exactly what was put in the building originally.”

However, before it could be installed, someone stole a large portion of it; around $4,000 worth of wood was taken.

“That wood is not easily replaceable. It took about six months to have it done,” said Dunne.

It’s a major disappointment for the group working to restore the church.

“This type of project is powered by volunteers who are giving off the top their free time and they’ve done it for years. That building has come a long ways and it is really disappointing to see that somebody can’t understand that,” said Dunne.

Dunne believes whoever stole the wood knew what they were looking for.

The society doesn’t have the money on hand to replace what was lost and if they do find another source of cash it will take time to have the planks recreated.

Notch Hill Church used to be a Roman Catholic Church. It was built in 1922 but has since be deconsecrated.

Megan Turcato / Global News