It’s not over yet.
Following a brief discussion during Monday evening’s council meeting, the District of Hope Council has tabled the decision on a stay of demolition for the Hope Station House until the Feb. 22 meeting to give district staff and officials time to deliberate.
Representatives of the Coalition for the Preservation of the Hope Station House spoke before council, looking for a six-month stay of demolition to buy the coalition more time to seek financing for preservation options.
“We just want the building,” Coalition representative Arlene Webster said. “We don’t want anything else.”
Webster said the Hope Station House is “a valuable part of our history;” she also said every dollar invested in heritage and tourism brings $2 to the community.
The Hope Station House was built in 1916 and currently stands at Old Hope Princeton Way and has sat empty for a number of years. The agreement to demolish the building came as part of a district settlement with provincial authorities, who failed to undertake consultation with First Nations before attempting to transfer land ownership to the district of Hope. Hope is regarded as ancestral land of the Chawathil First Nation.
The district received $650,000 from the province as part of the same settlement, which has been set aside and may be used in the future for a museum, visitor centre or other community asset.
Mayor Peter Robb said the building would have to be off the property on May 31, and reiterated to the Coalition that demolition is part of the agreement with the province. He said considering the district is under a legal, binding contract, he felt that it might not serve the district’s interests to negotiate and that they may not be in a position to do so.
Members of council acknowledged the agreement. While there was no guarantee the province is going to negotiate, council members seemed interested in possibly exploring other options.
“The biggest thing is making sure the province will entertain this idea at all,” Coun. Dusty Smith said.
Webster said that she did not want the district to go back on the agreement with the province except the demolition.
“We don’t expect you to get directly involved with negotiating with the province. Let us handle that the best we can,” she said.
Robb said the demolition deadline is April 9.
The Coalition, which consists of 13 members, received at least 34 letters from concerned individuals, organizations and groups, all of which had been hand-delivered to District Hall.
Kevin Dicken said there is an opportunity for a stay as the district has not entered into a demolition contract as of yet.
The Hope Station House is not currently listed in the Canadian Register of Historic Places.