Old brick building causes heritage stir

Old electrical building served as a rallying point for the revival of Heritage Association, Councillor says

The Baker Hill Heritage Association is operating again after a number of years on hiatus.

At City Council’s regular meeting Monday, Coun. Angus Davis said that the association had its first meeting last week.

“What I think really brought some of the interest to get the heritage association going was the topic of the preservation of the old building behind City Hall,” Davis said.

“I think the young people who were active in getting this old building behind us were in attendance at the Baker Hill inaugural meeting again.”

Davis said that, initially, preservation of the old brick electrical building wasn’t high on his list of things he wanted to see done. But seeing the group get its earnestness back and the brick building become a rallying point, was something Davis seemed glad to see.

“I support whatever they want to do with it,” Davis said. “We need people like that in the community.”

The heritage association was in operation for a number of years, but Davis said in the last four or five years it’s been sitting dormant.  The association was started by Gerald Hudson about 15 years ago. Davis said Hudson and number of people really did a lot of good things for the community.

“Every year there was a tour of different heritage homes in the community,” he said. “This would end with tea down at the Anglican Church hall.”

There was also a professional study of heritage qualities done in the Baker Hill area. Davis said that study highlighted things like the large walls created around the turn of the century.

“Things like that we just don’t pay attention to on a daily basis,” he said. “The city declared the Baker Hill area a heritage area, and this is something that when Mr. Hudson started this association was high on his list of priorities – that any work going on in the Baker Hill heritage area … anybody wanting to make renovations to their homes and new homes being constructed would have to have a certain heritage quality to it.”

On Monday night, Davis also talked about a petition by residents opposed to the city’s proposal to remove crosses and other grave markers during the winter months at the cemetery. The residents say the markers may be an obstacle in the summer to mow the lawn, but don’t see a justifiable reason to remove the markers during the winter.

“I think the people that signed the petition are serious about it and it means something to them,” he said.

Over the weekend, Davis visited the cemetery in Nelson and noticed that there were many more adornments on the grave sites.

“Historically cemeteries were a place of gathering, besides being a place of interning bodies,” he said. “A lot of communities use them as gathering places.”