Efforts are underway to revitalize heritage planning in Revelstoke, with a workshop held at the community centre last Saturday the first step towards doing so.
“I think it’s an important update to how we view heritage in Revelstoke in that we’re moving towards the values-based heritage decision making,” said assistant city planner Chris Selvig, who organized the workshop.
About 20 people attended the workshop, which was led by Carla Jack and Judith Cook from the B.C. Heritage Branch. The attendees included three city councillors, most of the city’s heritage committee and several members of the public.
The Times Review was not able to attend the workshop but we did speak to people afterwards.
“These are important exercises for the community to build interest and get people thinking along the line that’s going to get us somewhere,” said Mike Dragani, the chair of the heritage committee.
During the workshop, several questions were asked about Revelstoke’s intellectual, cultural life, social and community life; the importance of heritage conservation, why people live here, and more. Each person was given the chance to answer each question and then put a blue dot next to answers they agreed with most.
For examples, for the question, “What is unique about Revelstoke’s expressions of intellectual and cultural life?” The most popular answer was one that listed the number of museums, galleries and historic sites in the area.
On why people want to live here, one person answered that Revelstoke was a friendly, welcoming community, with great lifestyle opportunities, a strong sense of community and fantastic physical setting. That answer was surrounded by blue dots.
After that, the important locations relating to the answers were indicated on a map of the city.
“A lot of it is about really understanding the context about what that place means to the community, whether its social values, aesthetic, scientific, spiritual values or culutural values,” said Cook.
Cook said she was impressed by the stock of heritage buildings and places here.
“I think there’s a lot of potential to use these places as an asset for the community to enhance the quality of life and enhance the tourism experience,” she said.
One thing Dragani noted was the lack of young people at the workshop. He said Revelstoke’s heritage is something youth and people new to the community should be thinking about.
“It’s here because people before my generation thought about it, we’re thinking about it and by the time they get there, maybe it will be they’re turn to think about it for the next bunch of people that come here,” he said.
Cook said websites, virtual tours and more should be used to get youth interested. “In a time when classrooms don’t have money to do field trips, they can still visit these places virtually.”
The information from the workshop will now be brought to the heritage commission and then turned into a summary document. The commission is also planning on setting up a booth at the farmers market to seek more input from the committee. There is also talk of updating the city’s heritage strategy, which was last done in 1995, said Selvig.
For Cathy English, the curator of the Revelstoke Museum, she thinks the workshop will help get heritage back in the public view.
“I think sometimes there’s a tendency to become complacent and think we’ve done it all,” she said. “I think if we do that we’re in danger of losing things again.”
Do you think Revelstoke needs to be doing more to protect its heritage? What heritage assets are important to you? Please comment below.