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September 21, 2023 September 21, 2023

Fundraiser to rebuild “Chelsey’s Chapel” six years after Kenow Forest Fire

Posted on May 31, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

Organizers of the Chelsey West Memorial Phoenix Project are gearing up for a fundraising event which hopes to rebuild “Chelsey’s Chapel” at the Canyon Church Camp in Waterton Lakes National Park.

The RCMP Constable from Picture Butte, Chelsey Robinson (née West), was killed in the line of duty June 21, 2010 while looking for a suspected impaired driver west of Edmonton. Shortly after 12:30 a.m., Chelsey was the lone occupant of the marked police cruiser, which was struck by a transport truck near the intersection of Highway 16 at Range Road 15.

Following the tragedy, an outdoor chapel area was erected at Canyon Church Camp in Waterton thanks to a generous outpouring of donations in Chelsey’s memory. In addition to attending the camp in her youth, Chelsey also later worked for the camp as a counsellor.

In 2017, as flames from the Kenow Forest Fire spread across provincial boundaries from British Columbia into Alberta, the wildfire blazed through much of Waterton Lakes National Park, including the Canyon Church Camp and Chelsey’s Chapel.

Now, a group of local organizers are working toward raising the funds needed to see the chapel get rebuild and “rise from the ashes”. The cost to rebuild the chapel site is estimated at around $3,000. Coreen Warnock, one of the event organizers said the family carnival event is, “raising funds to support the camp in rebuilding the chapel and hopefully a cabin or two, in Chelsey’s memory.”

Warnock noted Chelsey’s, “giving, joyful spirit continues to shine on this community,” and added, “she is an inspiration.”

Scheduled events for the day include a kids-friendly jellyfish painting project, a pickle challenge, which for a small $5 entrance fee, will allow participants to enter a jar of their best homemade pickles for the chance to become “Pickler of the Year”, and an event called Bears on Wheels whereby kids will build their bear, paint it and enter it into the race to compete for prizes.

Other activities and games will include face painting, a duck race, photo booth, and concession as well as the “Great Chicken Drop”, and a campfire sing-a-long with tons of prizes to be won. Indoor and outdoor tables are available for rent for local bakers, makers, and artists.

In addition to the activities planned for the day, the organizers are also holding a silent auction. Organizers say they are actively seeking donors for the auction.

All proceeds raised at the carnival will go to the Canyon Church Camp. The effort in Picture Butte is a part of a greater fundraising initiative as the site sustained extensive damage in 2017 and destroyed over half of the camp.

The upcoming family carnival FUNdraising event will take place at the Picture Butte Community Center on June 10 and will run from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Chelsey was just 25 years old at the time of the accident, and hailed from the small town of Picture Butte. She was also one of several family members who worked in various functions in emergency services. Within the community the West family are described as “pillars of Picture Butte”, by organizers of the carnival.

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