Werner Streicek standing next to a scale replica of the education centre he hopes to build off Hot Springs Road. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Harrison carver tries again for tree house education centre

25 years later, Werner Streicek is hoping to bring his education centre to life on Hot Springs Road

Normally, Werner Streicek looks at a piece of wood and sees a carving. But 25 years ago, he looked at two trees on Hot Springs Road and saw an education centre.

Streicek, a nearly 75-year-old carver and self-proclaimed “treasure hunter,” first came to Harrison Hot Springs in the mid-90s to settle down and practice his art.

He is best known for his anatomically-accurate Sasquatch named, appropriately, Big Woody — “one of the big papers, they wrote that old ladies shouldn’t come up here,” Streicek remembered, laughing. “Of course all the old ladies wanted to see what was obscene” — and over the years has created nearly 200 carvings.

SEE ALSO: Harrison Art Show a success thanks to support

But throughout it all, the idea of an education centre has remained. And now, Streicek is hopeful that his idea could become a reality.

The tree house education centre

“To me, it would be a major attraction,” he said, sitting on the deck of his Harrison home.

Streicek’s vision is a simple one: build a tree house around a large Maple and Cedar tree, growing side by side on a property near the driveway for the Harrison Country Club.

The trees are in a narrow strip of land close to Hot Springs Road, an inlet from the Miami River divides the property from the Harrison Country Club RV spots behind it. Although the property is technically classified as developable land by the village, the riparian zone extends far into the property and would make residential development challenging.

In Streicek’s dream, a 50-foot high structure would encompass both trees, and stairs would allow visitors to walk up to the canopy, learning First Nations teachings about the earth as they go.

SEE ALSO: Sts’ailes drum making coming to Harrison Festival

“I can imagine a family that goes up into that tree house, where you actually can hug the tree and say hello to the tree and see the incredible integration,” Streicek said.

Making it happen

When Streicek first had the idea 25 years ago, he was never able to get it off the ground. It lay dormant since then, waiting for the right time to come back to the surface.

Then, Streicek heard about the elevated tree walk being considered near the Sea to Sky Gondola.

RELATED: ‘Canada’s newest iconic landmark’ proposed to spiral skyward in Squamish

“I thought, wow. I’ve got to go for my tree house again,” he said. He approached the new owner of the property, Greg Wilson, who has been building his house on the far end of the lot across from the municipal hall.

“I’m definitely on board with it,” Wilson said. “I talked to my wife, and she thinks it’s a great idea too.”

“Why not?” He added. “I mean, we can’t use the property for anything else. We can’t build a house there. So might as well enjoy it; let people enjoy it.”

Although Wilson is on board with the idea, and is even willing to donate the land as an educational park if that will help move the project along, there’s still a lot of hurdles for Harrison’s tree house to get over.

The riparian area, a protected zone along the Miami River, will still need to be considered in any potential development that happens on that property. There are also permits to be applied for and Harrison council to consider. Wilson wants to finish his house and be living on the property before anything major moves forward.

The hope for both Wilson and Streicek is to get the wheels in motion soon, so the project can be underway by the summer of next year.

“I would like to do it tomorrow,” Streicek said. “But when you talk politics, the wheels are moving very slowly.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Some Hope school buses will soon have seatbelts

Parents asked to encourage children to comply with new safety rules

Threats to the Fraser River at a ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Fraser Valley Regional District administration/government costs set to rise by 18%

Mosquito control and fire dispatch costs also set for increase

Restriction on tent size, barbecue locations possible for Harrison beaches

Residents will be seeing a draft bylaw head back to council on the barbecue issue

Chilliwack transit free on Saturday for parade; regular fares for Agassiz, Harrison

Bus rides are free on all Chilliwack routes to help people get to the Christmas Parade on Dec. 7

VIDEO: Harrison lights up for the holidays

The second annual Lights by the Lake kicked off Saturday, Nov. 23

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read