The Heritage BC 2015 Annual Conference opened with an event at the Rossland museum the night of Thursday, Oct. 1.
Conference attendees gathered at the museum to hear Mark Forsythe, a former CBC host, give the opening talk, “How I Caught the Heritage Bug.”
The event was an opportunity for attendees to mingle among the museum’s exhibits, sharing hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and a love of heritage.
During his talk, Forsythe took attendees on a virtual tour of his hometown’s main street, Glover Rd. in Fort Langley.
One stop on the tour was the site of the Coulter Berry building, a controversial development that became the subject of a lawsuit.
The development approved by Langley town council was bigger than the original zoning in the heritage conservation area of downtown allowed. Work on the building was briefly interrupted when a BC Supreme Court judge ruled that the township had violated its own regulations when it approved a heritage alteration permit for the project, but the developer simply applied for rezoning and the project proceeded.
“It’s the responsibility of people who care strongly about heritage to convince other people why it’s important and why they should even care about it,” said Forseythe when asked what can be done to protect heritage in downtown areas. “In the modern world—I guess it’s always been this way—powerful interests in the development world usually get what they want … so you need a strong caring citizenry that knows where to draw the line.”
Forsythe has visited Rossland before, and he likes what the city has done with its main street.
“I was here in April and it was the first time that I’d been in Rossland since the makeover, and I love what they’ve done in terms of a lot of different things coming together: the beautiful wide sidewalks, the lamp standards,” he said. “But Rossland always was beautiful, so it’s not as though Rossland has recreated itself, it’s enhanced what it already has I guess.”