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VIDEO: Downtown Kelowna's orphaned brick facade seen as heritage preservation fail

The Central Okanagan Heritage Society handed out several awards at its annual meeting, but not before denouncing what they see as a bad example.

The criticism is directed at the work done on the century-old Courier building at the corner of Lawrence Ave and Water St three years ago.

If the decision to leave just the front of the building intact was a mistake, it was compounded when work on the project was halted months later.

The property was being developed as a wine bar, lounge and tasting room by the Mark Anthony Group when the work stopped over regulatory issues.

Now, instead of it being an example of heritage preservation, some see it as an example of 'facadism'.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

The brickwork is now kept in place with metal bracing, but some heritage experts are holding it up as a heritage failure.

"In this case, the building did not have to come down," argues Central Okanagan Heritage Society Director Shona Harrison.

"It didn't have to just be a facade, it could have been a building that was re-purposed."

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

When the work began, at least one heritage advocate, Peter Chattaway, gave the plans a thumbs up.

"This is a good example of what we call 'heritage rehabilitation'," he said.

But in Harrison's view, the result is simple.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"It's no longer a heritage building."

Ironically, the orphaned brick frontage sits next to one of the COHS award winners for this year.

The brick building which was the former RAUDZ Regional Table and property owner Bill Scutt were recognized.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

"He has maintained that in all its beauty and all its splendour," said Harrison.

Among the other award winners were the Bennett family for the preservation of the Bennett Mansion.

Former Kelowna City councillor, the late Ben Lee was given a posthumous award for his work on Ben Lee Park in Rutland.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed.

Other winners included Astrid Kneipp for her home a 792 Lawrence Avenue and Ian & Susan Crichton for The Reekie House at 429 Park Avenue.

In the special projects category, the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club & Gord Hotchkiss were recognized for their work on a video entitled 'The Casorsos: La Prima Famiglia' and Susan Campbell accepted the award as project chair for the Central Okanagan Cemetery Recording Project.

Distinguished service awards went to Elders Pamela and Wilfred (Grouse) Barnes.

When she's not working with the Heritage Society, Shona Harrison looks after a great resource for local heritage buffs, the Old Kelowna Facebook page.



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