The uncertain fate of Red Deer’s rustic scout hut has sparked a rescue proposal.
Terry Welty, who was a boy scout in the 1950s, sent the City of Red Deer a letter expressing fond memories of the little log scouting cabin built in 1937.
The unused Rover Hut sits on a piece of city land on 47th Avenue. The property is being considered for an expansion of the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.
Welty, who was a teenage assistant troop leader with the Raven Patrol, wrote: “It always warms my heart to see the cabin and the red paint that Bob (Morgan) and I had painted on its window sills.”
The central Albertan offered to purchase the little cabin rather than see it pulled down if the women’s shelter expansion is given the go-ahead.
Welty proposes moving the building onto his rural property near Winfield for use as a hunting and fishing cabin — “assuming, of course, that it still has a usable life.”
The jury is out on that point. While a city study concluded the building has significantly deteriorated, local historian and city councillor Michael Dawe thinks it could be saved.
Dawe feels the scout hut has some historic value, as a plaque commemorating the 1937 visit of Canada’s top scout, Lord Tweedmuir, is embedded in the fireplace mantle.
According to historic records, Lord Tweedsmuir’s vice regal train arrived at the CNR station on Ross Street in 1937.
After receiving a mayoral welcome, the chief scout of Canada officially opened the new Rover Hut and was presented with a bow with a quiver of arrows made by Kerry Wood.
So far, the City of Red Deer does not have its own plans to preserve or restore the cabin. A spokesperson said no decisions will be made around this for some time.
The proposed land rezoning must be decided before the city considers its next steps. The long process began this week, but discussions were put on hold so city council could get more information about the stability of the Waskasoo Creek escarpment and other issues.
Meanwhile, a Scouts Canada official is looking into whether the Red Deer hut has enough historic significance and integrity for preservation.
Norm Kerr, the highest ranking volunteer in the Northern Lights Council, said he plans to talk to some older former scouts from the Red Deer area to help determine this.