County to consult Health Dept. on lead

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Jim Vivian, Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Board member, said because of Rural Development loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he doubts lead paint is an issue at the lodge.

EAGLE RIVER — The question of lead-based paint being present throughout the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge was brought up by a county resident at the recent Mountain Lodge Board meeting, which caused the board to need to act on the allegation, which would necessitate calling the Health Department.

“When I was with the (Keweenaw County) Road Commission, when we had a liability, we had to act on it immediately,” Don Piche, board chairman, said.

He said if a tree fell in the road and the road commission was alerted to it, they had to remove it immediately.

“If we just said, ‘We’ll remove it tomorrow,’ and somebody hit it and got killed, the county would be liable for that death.”

“That’s what this talk of lead paint at the Mountain Lodge did,” Piche said, “it’s now a liability to the county.

Jim Vivian, newly elected board member, said he is doubtful as the presence of lead at the facility. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development negotiated with Keweenaw County to approve loans for the Mountain Lodge, Vivian said, it is almost a certainty it would have made inquiries into the presence of lead-based paint at a public facility built in the 1930s.

There are documents that should contain that information, Vivian said, and he would read through them and find out. If there is lead-based paint, Rural Development almost certainly would have known about it before the loans were approved, he said.