A Rossland committee could take centre stage to give the regional district insight on preserving historical areas without costing taxpayers. At the Jan. 23 council meeting, coun. Kathy Wallace explained that Rossland is currently the only member of the regional district with an established heritage commission.
“It’s a volunteer driven, community based initiative to identify our communities significant heritage features and formalize them through creating a heritage register,” Wallace said.
Her and the mayor had recently met with Jackie Drysdale, chair of Rossland’s Heritage Commission.
Drysdale suggested that Rossland is in a position to provide a leadership role to the regional district by the example of the success of the heritage commission. There is a way to do this without requiring an immediate service from the regional district and increasing taxation.
The heritage commission discussed this at their meeting the week before council and endorsed the idea.
So Wallace asked that city staff prepare a draft proposal that could eventually make its way to the RDKB.
“What I’m asking for basically is for staff to put this together,” she said.
The request comes about after the RDKB sent out a letter asking communities to respond or to submit proposals regarding the Heritage Conservation Service Feasibility Study.
“The impetus for the study came from the Greenwood director, because of the significant heritage sites in that area were being altered and there were no means in place to protect such sites,” she said, having sat on the steering committee for the project. “When the study came to the RDKB board for receipt, it was well recognized that there was little support around table for instituting a new service with additional costs to the taxpayers.”
The committee members felt there wouldn’t be approval from the regional district to institute a new service at that point in time.
“It was also recognized that the study strongly concludes the significant value of heritage assets within the RDKB,” she said.
The report states that : The history and heritage of the RDKB is in many was a microcosm of British Columbia as a whole.
It also said that raising awareness and pride could help protect cultural assets, as well as have the potential to be an economic driver by increasing the heritage tourism.
A related study was the Greater Trail Cultural Plan for Arts and Heritage, which was done through the Trail District Arts Council and Rossland Council for Arts and Culture.
“It also highlighted the heritage assets that we have in the area,” she said. “Both reports, at significant cost, were done and are kind of sitting fallow, so that was the decision of the board at receipt.”
This was done, she said, to avoid having this report sitting on a shelf somewhere. It will now be forwarded to the next elected board for discussion.
“The idea is to prepare these sites for tourism opportunities and the community awareness affords them a little bit of protection,” she said.
Council carried the motion to draft a proposal.