A cross that had been installed at the top of Mount Tzouhalem on Vancouver Island has mysteriously gone missing over the weekend.
Since the 1980's, a steel cross has stood atop Mount Tzouhalem, overlooking the Cowichan Valley. This past weekend, locals were shocked to discover that it had been chopped down, reduced to a mere stump of metal.
According to the Vancouver Island Free Daily, the cross appeared to have been "sheared off with a grinder or other power tool" with only "a few centimetres of steel protruding from the cement base."
The destruction of the Mount Tzouhalem cross comes during a time of ongoing church burnings, with many believing the attacks to be retribution for the Catholic Church's role in Canada's residential school system.
As the Free Daily reports, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring "acknowledged the possibility" that the cross' removal could be connected to the recent onslaught of church burnings. "If this was random vandalism," he said, "it's bad. If it wasn't random and it's connected to [the residential school issue], to me, that's worse."
Mayor Siebring urged everybody to end the "vandalism and destruction," suggesting that "we need to respect each other and find ways to get along."
According to the Free Daily, these sentiments were echoed in a statement released by the chiefs of nine Victoria-area First Nations after the toppling of a Captain James Cook statue led to the burning of a totem pole.
"[These acts] fuel hate and inhibit the healing that is so deeply needed right now," the chiefs said. "The disrespectful and damaging acts we have seen are not helping. They are perpetuating hurt, hate, and divide."
Officials suspect the Mount Tzouhalem cross was vandalized during the night of Friday July 16th, however there have been no leads thus far as to who chopped it down.