The latest effort to save the Hope Station House has gone virtual.
Mother-daughter team Arlene and April Webster have launched savethehopestationhouse.ca, a hub designed to give grassroots supporters the tools to ask for a stay of demolition.
The website reviews a history of the Hope Station House, which was built in 1916. Fast forward to the late 90s and into the 2000s, and the Station House was converted into a community gatheirng place and landmark for music in the Hope area. The Hope Station House Community Arts and Heritage Society held dinners there, accompanied by local musicians. It’s currently slated for demolition in March 2021.
“I think a lot of people realize the value of heritage tourism and the importance of this building in particular to the community,” April said. “The website is supposed to be a call to action.”
The Websters said previous conversations with Heritage BC and MLA Jackie Tegert indicated that a “groundswell” of support from the community was crucial to the cause of saving the Station House.
“Our real ask is for a stay of dempotion to give us more time for the community to work in partnership with the district to help explore some other options,” April said. “There’s a lot of will and desire out there to have something happen with it.”
Arlene said Boston Bar recieved $1.9 million from federal and provincial grant funding to restore their own station house, breathing new life into a structure erected originally in 1914.
“That is a possiblity,” Arlene said of the grant funding. “If Boston Bar can do it, why can’t we? It’s possible. We can do this. We just need more time.”
The website contains simple letter templates and contact information for all members of District of Hope Council, MLA Tegert, MP Mark Strahl, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming and the deputy minister, Kayla Krishna.
Christian and Erica Ward created a SumOfUs.org petition, calling for members of Hope’s council to “take immediate action to prevent the destruction of one of Hope’s only and most beautiful historic buildings, the Station House.” The petition has gathered more than 1,400 signatures and is linked on the Save the Hope Station House page.
The Websters said there is a Facebook page with the latest updates on the station house’s status, found at Facebook.com/savethehopestationhouse.
As of Jan. 28, the Save the Hope Station House movement has started a letter-writing campaign. They aim to collect personalized letters advocating for the stay. Letters should be submitted by the end of the day on Feb. 2. The letters would then be presented to district council for discussion at the next meeting, which will be held via Facebook Live at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8.
Read the full story in an upcoming edition of the Standard.