The remains of the historic Fleming House in Kelowna following a devastating fire in July. —Capital News file

New, protective roof for burnt-out historic Kelowna building

The city spending $29,000 to protect the charred remains of the Fleming House over the winter

What do you do with the charred remains of a 147-year-old wooden heritage building badly damaged by fire?

If you are Kelowna city council, you spend $29,000 to build a temporary roof over what’s left of the structure to protect during the winter.

That’s what the city plans to do after a close vote by city council last week.

The building, known as the Fleming House, is located on land just off Dilworth Drive at the foot of Dilworth Mountain. It sits beside the old Brent’s Grist Mill, oldest surviving grist mill in B.C. Both buildings were moved to the site by the city in 2002 with some other, smaller historic buildings with as part of a plan to one day create a heritage park.

But the Fleming house, which was vacant at the time, was badly damaged by fire during th summer, leading to speculation it could be demolished.

RELATED: A piece of Kelowna’s history goes up in smoke

It was not torn down and following a recommendation by city staff that a temporary roof be built over the wooden structure to protect it from the elements this winter, council narrowly agreed in a 5-4 vote.

Some councillors, like Gail Given, argued despite a lack of interest by the public in the adaptive reuse of the building before it burned, it is worth saving and could still be used thanks to completion of the nearby Okanagan Rail Trail. That move, she said, could see the site become popular with the public.

Others, however, like Coun. Luke Stack and Mayor Colin Basran, said spending the money to protect a building so badly damaged by fire is a waste.

The July fire destroyed the two-storey building’s porch, inside, much of its roof and parts of some walls.

The house was one of the first build in the area by European settlers in the late 1800s.

The city wanted to find someone willing to take over the building and adapt it for modern day use, similar to a project that did that with the former Surtees barn in the Mission a few years ago. But there was no interest and the Fleming house, along with the grist mill and an adjacent dairy barn on the Dilworth Drive property have sat vacant for years.

The site is fenced off and closed to the public but there hv been reports of squatters inthe buildings in the past.

Stack argued the money would be better spent demolishing what’s left of the building and protecting and fixing up the nearby grist mill instead.

In the end, council’s decision will protect what’s left of the Fleming House over the winter and the city will decide next year what to do with it.

A city staff report said the pine logs used to build the house are in surprisingly good shape despite the fire, but the cost of restoring the building will be expensive.

The Fleming House is a local heritage building.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Central Okanagan Journey Home Society names new executive director

Stephanie Ball will head the Journey Home strategy

Kelowna International Airport to invest $67M to expand terminal

It’s the largest capital investment in the airport’s 72-year history

Former NHLer coming to Kelowna to recognize first responders

Theo Fluery joins the Kelowna Professional Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society Jan. 11

Foote continuing with Team Canada for World Juniors

The roster has nearly been set for the World Juniors launch on Dec. 26

Kelowna couple gets second book deal with Macmillan USA

Deanna Kent and Neil Hooson’s worked with the publisher for their “Snazzy Cat Capers” series

VIDEO: Feds give update on flying clearance for Santa’s sled

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has this message for the country’s children

Wagon wheels can now be any size: B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Vernon airport prepares for plane crashes

Several agencies practised emergency response in tabletop exercise

‘Miscommunication’ behind Frosty takedown in Vernon

Bylaw working with owners to get permits in place for holiday decoration, city says

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

LETTER: Universal pharmacare program needed

Millions of Canadians are waiting for this historic step

LETTER: Support needed to eradicate polio

As long as it exists the disease can suddenly erupt and spread anywhere

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

Most Read