What’s important to you about Rossland’s heritage and history?
That’s the question dozens of locals were asked at a public workshop last Saturday during the Rekindle Christmas celebration.
Consultants from Denise Cook Design were in the city to gather the public’s views on the community, its heritage, and the future of its past.
In just a few hours, two dozen people had passed through the doors to give the commission their views on heritage — and it wasn’t slowing down.
The turnout didn’t surprise Libby Martin, the president of the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre, and a member of the steering committee helping guide the development of a new heritage plan.
“It’s going well, I think we’ve had quite a few people come through, and a range of age groups, which I’m fairly pleased about,” Martin said. “Because I believe it’s important not just to get the older people who are living the heritage, but the younger generation who are going to carry it forward. Their viewpoint is very important.”
People coming into the workshop were offered several activities, from adding to a community mapping exercise to find out what locals think are important landmarks for the city, to a timeline that did the same thing for events. There were straightforward question-and-answer opportunities, and a process that helped identify various neighbourhoods.
The main message was that heritage just isn’t about old brick buildings. It’s anything that a community feels matters, from sports, arts, economic and political institutions to important events to traditional history.
The head consultant said she was also pleased with the turnout, and how the community had embraced the process.
“We’re in the very, very earliest stages, but what does stand out is the community’s enthusiasm for the project,” said Denise Cook.
“Everyone is so enthusiastic, we have a great steering committee that has a wide variety of people on it,” she said. “We are trying to get as many voices in the community as we can to give us their opinions about what they want to see for their heritage in the future.”
This was the only public consultation planned, but Cook didn’t rule out a second, that could be held in the new year. There’s also an online version of the survey that residents can fill out.
“We’ll take it all and we’ll synthesize it,” she says. “We’ll look at what people are valuing, and how that can be protected. We are looking at what concerns they have and what they think the city can do in terms of heritage, then we’ll consolidate that into a vision and goals, and what concrete steps the city can take to preserve heritage.”
That plan should be ready for council to review in March or April.
“It’s a community-based planning process, so what we are asking people is how heritage can be integrated into planning, engineering, parks, how there can be awareness of it through all city departments, and throughout the town,” says Cook.
“We want people to understand that what people value themselves is important— and it is heritage too. It’s not just old buildings.”