To the editor:
On behalf of all of us at the Central Okanagan Heritage Society (COHS), a big thank you to the city of Kelowna council and staff for providing the resources and a process for the recent work undertaken at Brent’s Grist Mill Heritage Park.
The history and significance of the Brent’s Grist Mill site has been well established. The three buildings that make up the site were moved from their original location in 2002. Their new home at the bottom of Dilworth Drive allowed for the buildings to have a similar configuration as the original site.
This central city location will one day be a major stopping point on the new Okanagan Rail Trail.
In the years since the buildings were moved, COHS was able to raise just over $55,000 to do some work on the Fleming House, including a new roof. The mill building itself, the oldest surviving grist mill in British Columbia and the most valued building on the site, was still in desperate need of conservation measures. The Brent’s Mill stabilization project, with funding from the city of Kelowna, got underway early this spring.
From our perspective the project has been successful for several key reasons: The city hired a heritage consultant to create a conservation plan for the building in 2014; the same consultant was hired to work on the project ensuring oversight by people with knowledge and expertise in the conservation of historic buildings; the tender process for the actual physical work on the building ensured that the work was carried out by people with the necessary skills—people familiar with the construction techniques and materials of this unique heritage building.
We look forward to the future of this heritage park, now that the mill’s future is secure. We look forward to the next phase of the restoration of the mill and the rest of the site—another wonderful spot for citizens and visitors to enjoy our beautiful city.
Thank you to the city of Kelowna council for putting heritage conservation high on the agenda for this current council term.
Janice Henry, executive director,
Central Okanagan Heritage Society