Salmon Arm council has opted to exclude three of the 20 properties recommended for Phase Two of the city’s heritage registry.
Following a public input session, council (Couns. Debbie Cannon and Kevin Flynn were absent) agreed to exclude the Masonic Hall on Alexander Street, the Turner House on 2351 Lakeshore Road NE, and the J. Ellis Wood House at 691 – 8th Avenue NE.
Barry Tarr, chair of the Salmon Arm Masonic Holdings Association, said the organization hopes to one day sell the building. Having a property on the registry prohibits demolition without the consent of council. Tarr argued this would drastically reduce options to sell.
Dan Smith, the owner of Wood House, took issue with the city’s Heritage Commission recommending that his house be included despite his expressed opposition.
“They should have come to me first and asked what are my thoughts were on this issue,” said Smith. “And if, as in this case, I said no, then so be it… I work hard and as such, if I decide to develop or subdivide my property, so be it.”
The commission’s chair, Alan Harrison said the commission’s work has not been perfect, and asked that any criticisms be pointed in his direction. Harrison also recognized work still needs to be done to educate the public, particularly on the distinctions between a heritage registry and a heritage designation.
While council agreed to exclude the three properties, there was hope that something could still be done to recognize their historic value.
“Lots of people have talked about the old McGuire house that was torn down up here… maybe it should have been condemned, maybe it should have been torn down,” commented Coun. Chad Eliason, whose own home is included in Phase Two. “But at least this gives the people a chance to say, let’s see if we can compensate these people or let’s see if we can find a solution.”
Despite objections from CP Rail and the Salmar Community Association, council voted to include the CP structure near Askew’s and the Salmar Classic in the registry. Only Mayor Marty Bootsma opposed the latter, expressing his disdain for quonset huts, and his faith that the Salmar Association wouldn’t do anything drastic without consultation.
“I think the board has done a great job of keeping that building up. I go to the movies a lot and I really like it there,” said Bootsma. “But I think they’re almost being punished for keeping the building in such fine shape.”
Council approved 16 properties for Phase Two of the registry, including the Fall Fairgrounds. Due conflicts of interest and a resulting lack of quorum, a recommendation to include the former Salmon Arm Elementary School (currently the Downtown Activity Centre), will be made at a future council meeting.