The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) recently added nine new sites to their Heritage Register, including three within the Cowichan Lake Area. As CVRD planner Katy Tompkins explained, the designation is an important step in conserving the community’s heritage values by conserving the buildings themselves.
The three local buildings added to the register last Thursday (August 13) are the Honeymoon Bay Community Hall, the Youbou Community Hall and the Mesachie Lake Hall. Tompkins explained that these sites were chosen based on several factors relating to both the past and present.
“The Honeymoon Bay Hall, for example, has a lot of social and historical value,” she said. “It shows how the area was settled, it shows the relationship between the logging industry and the area and it shows the value of bringing people together. Its value is more social than architectural.”
The approval process requires each potential site to be reviewed both locally and provincially before being added to the register. Though there is typically no physical commemoration of the site’s status, unless the landowner applies for one, being on the register can help ensure that the heritage value of a property remains intact should the owner apply for rezoning. There is also hope within the CVRD that making the Valley’s heritage buildings known to the public will also bring in tourism.
Though the Heritage Register was first launched in 1999, the first site was not officially added until 2009, with the majority of the sites, now 14, being added this year. Tompkins credited student Holly Robinson, who was hired as a planning assistant for the summer, for helping them make headway with the register this year. She said that she hopes they can continue to hire students in the future in order to continue their work with the Heritage Register, as close to 100 sites have been placed under consideration to be added to the register.