Heritage B.C. names 6 spots at risk of disappearing from local history
The Heritage B.C. watch list is meant to draw attention to sites of significance around the province
This week, Heritage B.C. released its first ever "watch list" of six culturally significant sites in need of protection.
Two of those sites are on Vancouver Island, including Victoria High School, opened in 1914, which is also on the National Trust for Canada's Endangered Places list.
"Vic High is an example of one of these schools which was slightly too small for its purpose today and it also really urgently needed to be seismically upgraded," said Heritage B.C. President Gordon MacDonald.
The school board has proposed maintaining its heritage by keeping the exterior intact, while upgrading the interior, a move MacDonald applauds.
"The solutions are never simple … and always the best solutions come about as the product of collaboration," he told On The Island's Gregor Craigie.
The other site is Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park, the site of a former coal mine located near Nanaimo, which Macdonald said displays examples of industrial heritage and the large engineering works that are a legacy of the province's early days.
"What you can see there are the remains of the above ground ... structures that supported the old mine workings. It was a very important coal mine in its day. Now, that's all become a bit precarious," he said.
The goal of the watch list l is to engage communities surrounding the heritage sites in advocating for improved protection, awareness and conversation, MacDonald said.
The organization is aware of the need to move on, the need to make schools seismically safe and to provide new and affordable housing. He argues that preservation and progress "are not contradictory but rather complementary agendas."
"We promote the adaptive reuse and rehabilitation of historic spaces for contemporary new uses."
"Our heritage is only really effective when we use it and value it, so it's how we inhabit those spaces that is what we're really championing in the watch list."
With files from On The Island
To hear the full interview listen to media below: