Judging by the lack of discussion and the speed with which Kelowna city council agreed to send the proposal to a public hearing, it appears council likes the idea of designating the former St. Aidan’s Church in Rutland as a city heritage building.
The building, currently being “repurposed” by the Okanagan Buddhist Cultural Society (OBCS) as part of a partnership with the city, is already on Kelowna’s Municipal Heritage Register, but would enjoy further protection if it received heritage designation as well.
On Monday, council did not even discuss the proposal after a presentation by city staff. It immediately, and unanimously, voted to give it initial approval and send the application by the OBCS to a public hearing.
In his presentation to council, city planner Terry Barton said the former Anglican Church is one of the last remaining heritage buildings in the Rutland area and is considered a symbol of importance of the Anglican Church to what was the rural community of Rutland when it was built in 1933. Since then Rutland has become part of the City of Kelowna and is now one of its largest residential neighbourhoods.
Over the years, St Aidan’s has undergone renovations and changes.
Plans for the former church building include relocating it on the site at the corner of Rutland Road and Mugford Road onto a new foundation. The body and roof of the former church will be retained and a new one-storey hall will be built at the south east corner, with a small addition added to the north side of the existing structure to provide office space, a monk’s room and washrooms.
The historic lych gate will be relocated to its original location at the west entrance to the church. A new traditional friendship garden is planned for the northwest corner of the site and will be accessible to the general public.
Barton said St. Aidan’s is the third municipal heritage “asset” to be preserved under the city’s Heritage Asset Management Strategy, along with the former Brent’s Grist Mill and the the former Surtees property in the Mission.
The grist mill had its foundations stabilized last year and the Surtees property is part of another partnership between a local developer and the city. It is also currently being repurposed.
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