The village will start working on the design phase for the project. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Burns Lake’s St. John’s Heritage Church revitalization to begin

A $275,000 provincial grant to help move the project forward

  • Mar. 3, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The village will finally be moving ahead with the redevelopment of St. John’s Heritage Church now that they have secured provincial funding.

The village has been approved for a $275,000 grant under the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program’s (CERIP) Unique Heritage Infrastructure stream worth $16 million.

“Funding heritage and cultural projects throughout British Columbia is vital for communities and their well being. It allows them to remain connected to their past and it helps to support their cultural organizations”. said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

A total of 68 community projects all across B.C., would benefit from this funding.

“This funding also helps communities recover from the pandemic with investments in programs that benefit the whole community,” said Conroy.

In a village council meeting, the staff and council were excited by the funding announcement however, Sheryl Worthing, the village chief administrative officer did note that the funding was lesser than what was expected.

READ MORE: ‘We have not dropped the project’: says Burns Lake Council about St. John’s Heritage Church

Worthing also said that the staff would now work towards making up the difference of $167,000, by applying to other grants. However, the work on the project would now start with the first step being consultation with an architect for the design phase, she said.

The village has also set aside $50,000 in reserve for the project from the “General Operating” fund since last year.

The village had started work on some side projects for the church building last year, such as bringing water service to the property line, getting a wheelchair access built off of the new sidewalk in the front of the building, preparing for a sidewalk let down for the parking lot development.

During a council meeting last year, Michael Riis-Christianson had presented the council with a letter outlining the St. John’s Heritage Church’s redevelopment prospects, hoping to revitalize the work on the project. This letter came after the council rejected the museum society’s business plan proposal in November 2019.

The village later in the year submitted for the province’s grant and have finally secured the funding.

“The awarded projects show us the strong local connections of our history and heritage. CERIP has shown us the great need for this type of funding and it has shown us that people need their heritage,” says Britney Dack, chair of Heritage BC’s board of directors.

“It is part of our daily lives. It is part of communities and our stories.”

ALSO READ: Would St. John’s Heritage Church in Burns Lake ever be reopened?

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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