The City of Penticton will be footing 41 per cent of the bill for a new heritage program developed by the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen.
The program, under development since 2013 when the RDOS awarded a $56,850 contract to a consultant to update an inventory of the region’s heritage sites, then develop a plan to protect and capitalize on those assets, as well as provide assistance to local heritage societies with paperwork associated with grant applications.
The plan has now been realized as the new Regional Heritage Strategic Plan, and is expected to cost about $20,000 a year to implement and maintain. Penticton’s share of that is $8,174, or about 39 cents per household.
“It has always been looked at with the intention of maintaining it at a fairly low level,” said Lindsay Bourque, Regional Projects Coordinator for the RDOS, who presented the plan to Penticton City Council at their Nov. 16 regular meeting.
Bourque said implementation of the program will take several forms throughout 2016.
“One of the biggest pieces we will be working on is the establishment of a regional heritage commission,” said Bourque, adding that she was already working on pulling together a calendar of cultural events.
Another element expected to occur in 2016 is a one-day workshop to explain how to prepare the “statement of significance” needed to add a site to the heritage register. One of the early goals the program is trying to meet is adding five heritage sites to the register.
“The process can be intimidating, there are unfamiliar terms and concepts. That workshop is really meant to give local communities, especially the smaller communities, the tools they need to add sites to the register,” said Bourque.
Coun. Max Picton wondered whether the program would lead directly to increasing the tourism potential of the area, and wondered whether Destination B.C. or the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association was contributing to the plan.
“I haven’t worked with them directly. Their mandate is to help promote once these programs are in place,” said Bourque. “We hope they will definitely pick up on them and start to promote the region as a cultural destination.
Council voted 6 to 2 to approve the city’s participation in the regional heritage program, with Couns. Campbell Watt and Konanz opposed.