UPDATE: 2 p.m.
Kelowna council has approved heritage designation for Benvoulin Heritage Park.
The designation will protect the park with a bylaw ratified by council on Monday (Jan. 18) and will qualify the Central Okanagan Heritage Society for site-specific grants of up to $12,500 every three years to support conservation efforts.
The Central Okanagan Heritage Society (COHS) is seeking official heritage designation for Benvoulin Heritage Park to protect the site for years to come.
City council will consider granting that designation to the park, a popular wedding destination, at its Monday, Jan. 18 meeting. The designation would give the area long-term protection through a bylaw and qualify the land for heritage grants of up to $12,500 every three years. That money would be used for conservation efforts.
Currently, only Benvoulin Church is protected by such a designation, while the land and nearby McIver House and Reid Hall, are not. The McIver House is currently on the city’s Heritage Register but that offers little protection from redevelopment.
Benvoulin Church and Reid Hall
Benvoulin Church was constructed in 1892 by Kelowna’s first mayor H.W. Raymer. It was the first protestant church in the Central Okanagan and the first Presbyterian church between Vernon and the U.S. border.
In the 1950s, Reid Hall was constructed, serving as a Sunday school and meeting place.
The site was almost demolished in the 1980s, until the COHS was formed in 1982, taking on the church as its first project The church reopened in 1986, with the tower rebuilt to its original appearance.
Reid Hall was replaced in 2000. Though newer than the other buildings on-site, it provides value as a community hall. The redevelopment was designed to be architecturally compatible with the church while being set far enough back to leave the church as the main focus of the area.
The McIver farmhouse was built in 1904, notable due to its Eastern Canadian “vernacular saltbox” house-type, which was rare in Western Canada.
The house, originally located at 1950 KLO Road, was purchased by Harriet and Bernard McIver, to serve as the farmhouse for their 17-acre farming operation.
In 1994 the family donated the building to the COHS, which moved it to its current location and restored it.
Now, the Benvoulin Heritage Park site manager resides in the home.
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