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Little old brick building gains heritage legitimacy

Cranbrook city staff will be applying for Heritage BC Legacy funding on behalf of the Cranbrook Heritage Association. The funds would go towards the restoration of the brick building behind city hall, if the grant is successful.

"This is a good initiative by staff," said Mayor Wayne Stetski at the Aug. 18 council meeting. "If it's successful, the maximum grant is $25,000."

He said that money would be quite helpful in the restoration of the brick building.

"I think it's a good partnership between the City of Cranbrook and the people of Cranbrook," Stetski said.

Coun. Angus Davis said he was also in favour of it.

"This building out back here has given (The Cranbrook Heritage Association) the impetus to keep on living," Davis said. "You got good people, you got a good project, it's in a great location, so I hope everything goes the right way. We need that type of association in the community."

Coun. Gerry Warner said there is still some opposition in the community.

"One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is if this project goes ahead and if it's done nicely and properly could be part of the revitalization of downtown," Warner said.

“Like a heritage walk, looking at the brick building and other historic buildings like the St. Mary across the way, and the old fire hall. I’m sure hoping this grant is successful.”

Council approved the motion to apply for the Heritage BC grant. Coun. Diana J. Scott was opposed.

At the end of May 26 the Cranbrook Heritage Association appeared before Council to request a rescinding of the demolition order on the brick building. Staff wrote that the association presented information showing that the building could be returned to structural stability and made usable.

City staff and the association agreed on a threshold figure for the proposed restoration. The CHA indicated that based on quotes for materials and services, the restoration project budget had been set at $40,000.

In July, council approved the recommendation by staff to rescind the March 18, 2013 resolution which allowed the demolition of the brick building.

Staff said the budgetary impact to the city is zero, since the heritage association will fundraise all the necessary resources.

By chance, Heritage BC has just opened the 2014 Legacy Fund grant application process for eligible projects. City staff have been in touch with Heritage BC, and determined that the proposed exterior restoration work on this building would qualify as an eligible project.

If the grant is successful, it could potentially contribute up to half of the eligible project costs.

The application will be submitted in the name of the City of Cranbrook, which is the building’s owner, though much of the information will come from the association. The deadline for application is Sept. 5, 2014.

Heritage BC told the city that there is only so much in the Legacy fund, so they will be assessing all applications together and based on the number of applications received, they hope to give all qualifying projects some funding. It will not be a first come-first served application process.

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