totem-pole-fire-malahat
(RCMP)

A totem pole at the Malahat lookout was set on fire early Friday morning.

Shawnigan Lake RCMP are investigating and responded to the report just after 4 a.m. on July 2nd, after a motorist spotted the fire and reported it to police.

The Malahat Fire Department was dispatched to the scene and extinguished the fire just as RCMP arrived.

Evidence from the scene has been seized and Shawnigan Lake RCMP investigators are working with members of the Vancouver Island Forensic Identification Section (FIS) in hopes of identifying a suspect.

“The quick thinking of the passing motorist likely saved not only the totem pole, but also a forest fire,” said Commander Sgt Tim Desaulniers.

“This was a very dangerous act that could have had far reaching consequences. We will be working with partners along the Malahat for video and dashcam footage in an effort to identify suspect(s).”

One Totem One Statue

Graffiti was also located at the scene which read, “One Statue One Totem.”

The statue of Captain Cook, a British explorer, which stood across the road in front of the Empress Hotel, was destroyed and tossed into the ocean on Thursday evening.

See also: Police investigating after protestors throw Captain James Cook statue into Inner Harbour

Protestors smeared red paint and red handprints on the pedestal and erected a wooden red dress, to signify murdered and missing Indigenous women.

RCMP believe these incidents are linked.

Anyone with information is asked to call Shawnigan Lake RCMP at 250-743-5514.

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