The United Church received $35,000 for upgrades to the building’s heating, plumbing and electrical systems. Photo: John Boivin

The United Church received $35,000 for upgrades to the building’s heating, plumbing and electrical systems. Photo: John Boivin

Planning for the future of Rossland’s past

Columbia Basin Trust supports Rossland heritage buildings

The head of Rossland’s heritage commission says she was thrilled to hear the Columbia Basin Trust is going to fund the creation of a management plan for the city’s historic buildings.

“I think it is tremendously exciting,” says Jackie Drysdale of the Columbia Basin Trust’s support for the management plan. “By starting afresh and everybody coming together, we are not only going to honour the separate goals and ambitions of every group, but we’re going to be able to augment what we’re are doing by working together.”

Drysdale was commenting on the recent Trust announcement to give $23,600 to the city for developing a heritage management plan. The city will also kick in $8,000, and the heritage committee $2,000, says Drysdale.

The plan will bring together stakeholders in the community to find ways to support heritage conservation and foster tourism opportunities.

“We should be working together — the arts council, the heritage commission, the museum, etc.,” says Drysdale, who notes that competition for grants in small communities can sometimes have groups working at cross-purposes. “So the idea behind the heritage management plan is to bring together all the organizations, the owners of the heritage buildings, all the people interested in that history to say how we can collectively promote our history and heritage, and promote our community at the same time.”

Drysdale says the first step is to hold a public meeting on the subject with the various interest groups, using provincial heritage facilitators.

The Trust also announced grants to support specific heritage building projects in Rossland.

The United Church, with its iconic red-roof on the bluff above the downtown, received a grant of $35,000 for planning and staging improvements necessary to ongoing usage. The work includes heating and electrical upgrades, and washrooms.

The Rossland Light Opera Players, who own the Bodega building on Washington St., received $10,000 for needed work in their basement and $10,000 for planning future improvements.

“I just really like the way conservation is behind all these plans,” says Drysdale. “Heritage buildings can only be conserved if they are occupied, and two of these grants are for improvements and the detailed planning for future improvements, to two buildings on our heritage register.

“Our heritage buildings in Rossland are a visual reminder of the past, play a significant role in our community’s identity and provide an attractive theme for our downtown,” she says. “But, work is often needed in terms of upgrades, to attract occupants and to give these buildings purpose and ensure their ongoing use and presence in the community.”