An Alberta man wants to turn the old Lutheran Church into a five-bedroom guest house.
Rick Nybakken has applied to re-zone the property to allow him to turn the church into guesthouse that would feature a mix of private rooms, dormitories, a communal kitchen and common area.
“I want to turn the church into my home but also make it in to a welcoming place to people from wherever,” he told the Review over the phone last week.
The church address is 1502 Mountain View Road, though it sits overlooking Airport Way and McKinnon Road, at the top of the hill when you drive up from town.
Nybakken said he has been coming to Revelstoke on vacation for years, and has decided to turn the community into his home.
He and his girlfriend came up with the idea of opening up a guest house while traveling together. He said he was looking at opportunities when he saw the church was for sale.
Nybakken laid out his plans in a letter to council and neighbours. “I will strive to create a quiet place of rest that appeals to the outdoor adventure demographic; for people come from all over the world to appreciate what Revelstoke and the Columbia Mountain ranges have to offer,” he wrote.
Nybakken’s plan is to renovate the interior of the church to add the five guestrooms. He said it already has a kitchen and common area. He wants to build a patio on the west side of the building, facing Airport Way, and he would plant hedges around the property to ensure privacy for neighbours.
Nybakken said he’s already reached out to the neighbours, some of who have been supportive, but others who fear the impact of a guest house on their street. He said he wants it to be a quiet place for adventurers, and not a party hostel.
“They assume it will be a party place and guests will be drunk and traveling from abroad,” he said. “A business owner has most say and control of what kind of vibe and atmosphere they want to develop, and that’s not what I want to develop at all.”
The application is in the early stages. It will be discussed by the city’s Advisory Planning Commission next week and still needs to go in front of council. It will require a public hearing.
Nybakken has a deal in place to purchase the church, but only if the re-zoning is successful.
The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection held its final service on Oct. 26. 2014. The building is listed for sale for $449,000.