VANCOUVER (CP) - While the people of Nelson, B.C. were busy arguing with U.S. veterans about proposals for a statue honouring American draft dodgers last month, 50 kilometres down Kootenay Lake, the town of Creston was having a similar battle.

There, the statue at issue is a three-metre bronze of a sasquatch carrying a case of beer. A case of made-in-B.C. Kokanee beer, to be precise.

A sasquatch is a mysterious, large ape-like creature reputed to roam the woods of North America. The legend is comparable to that of the Loch Ness monster or the abominable snowman.

"The town looked at it as an economic development," Mayor Joe Snopek said on Monday, adding it was decided the town could not proceed because, with a beer in its hand, the statue would be considered a business subsidy. Under the province's Municipal Act, that wouldn't be allowed, the mayor said.

Last month, nearby Nelson came under fire after plans were floated to erect a monument honouring American draft dodgers. The idea was axed by the city's mayor after the 2.4-million-strong Veterans of Foreign Wars appealed to U.S. President George Bush to get the statue quashed.

"It created some controversy," Snopek said of the sasquatch plans, adding the Nelson debate "took the pressure off the sasquatch for a while."

The town council had been ready to foot half the bill for the $40,000 bronze by Karl Lansing but after the ensuing uproar, a private contractor has agreed to foot the town's half, with the Columbia Brewing Co. picking up the rest.

The decision to go that route came after 500 people in the town of 5,000 signed a petition opposing the expense.

Snopek said the council was looking at the statue as a tourist attraction like the giant Easter egg in Vegreville, Alta., or the humongous hockey stick in Duncan, B.C.


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