Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)

New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

The movement to save the Hope Station House has gained momentum following the release of two reports on Monday, June 14.

The provincial government’s Heritage Branch asked Heritage Works to assess the current condition of the building and its suitability for future use, and Heritage Works responded with an 18-page document. Donald Luxton & Associates Inc. was asked to produce a ‘Statement of Significance,’ evaluating the historical merit of the Station House, and they gathered up a 32 page paper.

Those documents were presented to District of Hope Council at their Monday night meeting.

After looking them over, council agreed to defer a decision on a bylaw that would repeal the Station House’s heritage status.

A five-page letter from Heritage Branch director Richard Linzey accompanied the reports, and he referenced the Heritage Works paper when discussing the notion that the Station House has become ‘badly deteriorated.’

Heritage Works found that work done on the building since 2014 has left it “robust and structurally sound.”

“The building envelope, as is typical for a building of this age, can be rehabilitated with modest investment in care and maintenance,” Linzey summarized.

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The 18-page Heritage Works report also refuted the notion that the Station House can’t be re-purposed.

“The station house is one modest construction contract away from being in excellent condition and ready for willing tenants to fit out for their uses,” Linzey noted.

The Statement of Significance from Donald Luxton & Associates Inc. detailed the building’s storied past, from its completion in 1916 and decades of usage by the Canadian National Railway, all the way to its closure and municipal designation under the Heritage Conservation Act in 1982.

“The Station is a tangible reminder of the importance and impact of the railways on Hope, its land, and its people,” that document noted. “The Hope Canadian National Railway Station (Hope CNR Station) is an extremely significant, rare, and valuable site.”

For people who have been exploring every angle to save the Station House, the reports are life preservers in a storm.

The provincial government’s stop work order that went into effect April 12 is due to expire August 10.

“Our heads are still spinning with the vast amount of amazing detail in these reports,” Christian Ward from the Hope Station House Society wrote in a Facebook post. “Although we plan to share more details in the upcoming days, suffice to say for now that it’s an incredible feeling to see all our belief in the value of this building reflected by such expert and independent voices.”

There will be a special meeting sometime before July 31 to have discussions on options for the Station House. Even if it is saved from demolition, it will still have to be moved from its current location at 111 Old Hope Princeton Way.


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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