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LETTER: writer thanks Quesnel council for retaining steam shovel

Quesnel’s McKelvie was the reason artifact survived: Meyers
This steam shovel was about to be returned to its original community of Likely until, based on new information about its arrival to Quesnel, city council halted their year-old plan to ship it back. (Lorrie Milsom photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)


It seems the town of Likely thinks it can just walk in and take the steam shovel and lay claim to it.

Did they make any attempt to salvage it as it lay rusting in their backyard? No. Did they offer J.P. McKelvie and his little band of volunteers any help or finances to dig the thing out of the bush and mud hole it was in? No. Did they offer any assistance to truck it to Quesnel? No. Did they contribute anything to the restoration of the shovel? No.Did they even offer to help J.P. buy the paint to make it look so good? No.

Have they offered any funds to maintain it since J.P. and his crew set it up? No.

J.P. spent many months restoring and pressure-washing the mud off it before painting and proudly setting it up on land donated and maintained by the taxes of the citizens of Quesnel.

Every time I visit it, I feel proud to have known J.P. and worked for him as a contractor. I know the pride he felt when the restoration was completed and turned over to the citizens of Quesnel.

As for tourist attendance at the present site, compared to what few would see it in Likely is a no-brainer.

Did Likely offer any compensation for all the work and care to date, not to mention storage fees? No.

Remember, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and as far as it belongs to Likely because it worked there is nonsense. It probably worked on other sites before it moved to the Hydraulic Pit.

Thank you, J.P. and I know you look down on it and feel proud of your work.

Also thank you to city council for standing your ground on behalf of the citizens of Quesnel.


Patrick Meyers

(Editor’s clarification note: The community of Likely was offered the artifact in 2022 by Quesnel council; it was not Likely’s idea. No one from modern day Likely has ever publicly insisted it should best be in Likely or that it was taken nefariously. A group of history buffs and tourism enthusiasts merely accepted Quesnel’s offer. They have accepted the change of heart without complaint.)

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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