Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

While bats may strike fear in some people, one local advocate is trying to prevent a colony from being homeless in Fairmont Hot Springs.

For years, the old barn at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has stood as a beloved and familiar landmark to local residents and visitors alike, says Rachel Milner, a volunteer with the Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP).

Milner points out the barn serves as a summer home for several bat species, but notes the resort is planning to demolish the building, which will leave the colony without a home. But she adds there is a solution, citing help from the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund that offers artificial roosting habitats, including a ‘bat condo’ as alternative housing. Milner says the only requirement is the resort’s permission to place the condo on a corner of their land near the old barn. 

“Unfortunately, despite being informed of the protected status of all bat species in BC under the Wildlife Act, the resort has declined to grant permission.”

Milner states that providing bats with a condo would help prevent them from inhabiting other buildings where they might not be wanted. In addition, the presence of a bat condo could serve as an educational opportunity for the resort’s visitors, enhancing its wildlife-friendly image, she points out.

The Pioneer contaced Fairmont Hot Springs Resort for comment but there was no response by press time Tuesday.   

For more information on bats, visit the BC bat website at https://www.kcbp.ca/