Vayda

Kilby awarded one-year contract

District of Kent receives heritage site management agreement from the province for 2015 operating year

Kilby Historic Site has been funded for another year of operations.

The District of Kent received the heritage site management agreement, which in turn contracts the job out to the non-profit Fraser Heritage Society. The contract includes management of Kilby historic site, the campground and RV park as well as picnic area and boat launch.

“I know the District of Kent is very invested in the Kilby site,” says Steve Thomson, minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations, who made the announcement March 31. “I am confident that they will work to increase the opportunities for the site to become more financially self-sufficient.”

Mike Armstrong is the president of the Fraser Heritage Society. Armstrong says Kilby has been funded again as they are close to becoming self-sufficient, a priority made clear from the government.

“The Kilby site doesn’t really take a lot of taxpayer money to operate,” says Armstrong. “We’re very close to becoming a break-even operation.”

He says while the entrance fees and restaurant contribute to the overall revenue, it’s the campground they hope will help them achieve the goal of self-sufficiency. With the campground sitting at the confluence of the Fraser and Harrison rivers and access to a boat launch, it’s an ideal location for fishing and camping.

“Many people have said we have the nicest campground in the west coast,” boasts Armstrong.

The Fraser Heritage Society is looking to expand the campground this year as they have “quite a bit of land” that isn’t being used right now.

Purchased by the Province in 1972 and 1973, Kilby Historic site, named after the original general store owners, Thomas and Eliza Kilby, is the remainder of what was once the community of Harrison Mills. The site on scenic Harrison Bay includes a farm and a general store museum dating back to 1906. There is also a heritage post office and above the store, the Manchester House Hotel, both of which were a central gathering place in the community when Harrison Mills was at its busiest.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue with the operation of the Kilby Historic Site,” says District of Kent Deputy Mayor Darcy Striker.

Kilby Historic Site opened last weekend for the season with its annual Easter At Kilby event. Hundreds turned out Saturday and Sunday to hunt for Easter eggs, admire the animals and take in the atmosphere.

The next special event is Mother’s Day at Kilby May 10 followed by the Teddy Bear Picnic May 17. Kilby is open Friday to Sunday, 11-4 p.m. from now until May 10 then Thursday through Monday until June 22. Full operating hours run through the summer. For full hour listings, upcoming events and entrance prices, see www.kilby.ca