St. Anthony’s Church has a sale looming and in it, a proposal to renovate the interior into an office and living space. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Sale looming for St. Anthony’s Church

The Trail church is designated municipal heritage, which restricts changes to the exterior

Just because a building is very old with certain charm, that doesn’t mean it is “heritage.”

Only two structures are designated municipal heritage in the City of Trail – the Trail United Church on Pine Avenue and St. Anthony’s Church in the Gulch.

Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac clarified that in the case of these two buildings, the heritage designation came as a request by the two religious organizations, both of whom are the property owners.

“The heritage designation is granted by council through the passing of a bylaw,” she explained.

Once the building is in the books as heritage, certain limitations apply.

“The heritage designation limits the property owner’s rights to make changes to the exterior or make structural alterations to the building subject to the designation,” McIsaac said.

“So Trail council has not established a heritage protection program whereby the city would identify and designate properties having heritage value or heritage character without owner consent,” she added.

“And instead, has only designated these two properties upon application by the owners.”

The topic was at the forefront of Monday night council when the panel discussed a re-zoning application for St. Anthony’s Church by Wewerke Design Inc., a company currently based in Crescent Valley.

Bernard Mitchell of Wewerke Design has accepted a conditional offer to purchase the Railway Lane properties which are presently owned by the Roman Catholic Church, according to council’s report.

Mitchell’s plans for the property include a renovation to the existing structure to create a combined office and living space within the main chapel and mezzanine. Additionally, he proposes to develop two apartments in the former rectory at the back of the building.

Notably, because St. Anthony’s is designated as “municipal heritage” through a bylaw, care must be taken to preserve the exterior form and character of the building.

And, council has no plans to change that.

Before anything can happen inside, however, the historic “Institutional” classification must be re-zoned “C6” or Special Highway Commercial. Further, a “spot” zone (C6A) must be created specific to the property, to allow additional apartments within the rectory as well as future development not permitted as “use” under C6.

Re-zoning is a process that involves council approval and a public hearing. The first step was taken with a unanimous passing of two readings for a new zoning bylaw.

Council also agreed to a Dec. 18 public meeting, 6 p.m. at city hall.

Finally, because the property is located within 800 metres of Highway 3B (Controlled Access Highway), the bylaw must be advanced to the Ministry of Transportation for approval prior to the bylaw’s adoption.

“This zoning will allow the applicant to proceed with the proposed development as part of maximizing the utility of the property,” noted Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff. “Again, it is positive to see that this building will be used in this manner and the zoning proposed, including the intended uses, are consistent with other uses in the area and therefore make sense from a planning perspective.”

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