Sprucing up Seasoned Structures

The buildings at Vanderhoof's heritage museum site are getting a long-awaited facelift.

The buildings at Vanderhoof's heritage museum site are getting revamped.

Buildings at the Vanderhoof heritage museum site are bring cleaned up and brushed off.

The District of Vanderhoof received $41,000 in Job Creation Partnership funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation to employ five people to help with beautification and restoration of the Vanderhoof Museum.

Vanderhoof resident Lyle Ashcroft, is one of the five workers employed by the project.

“Yup, were sprucing her up,” said Mr. Ashcroft. “It’s been in need of this for quite a while and it’s awesome because I get to learn a little of this and a little of that.”

The Nechako Valley Historical Society runs the museum and is a non-profit organization comprised of local volunteers interested in maintaing and preserving Vanderhoof’s history through the operation of the museum.The focus of the project is to revamp the visible buildings and make the property accessible to everyone. Workers have already started to paint and replace siding, drywall,  gutters, doors and window mouldings. Wheelchair ramps going to the Reimer residence, OK Cafe and Royal Bank buildings, along with boardwalks and gravel patching, are next to be installed. Another part of the project may include cases to protect artifacts and repairs to the museum’s trail system.

The District of Vanderhoof has put in $31,000 of in-kind supplies including time and materials for the project such as the use of the loader truck, dump truck and tools. Another $5000 donation from the Nechako Kitimat Development Fund was also given to help with the cost of the project, which is planned to be be completed by November 24 and is so far on track.

Over the past few years the society has had a hard time keeping all the buildings open due to lack of funding. Mark Winston and another director of the society put their own money into opening the OK Cafe this year since it is a primary tourist spot, said Mr. Winston.

“It can be seen right as you enter Vanderhoof so people naturally want to stop there, ” said Mr. Winston.

Only a portion of the 66 acre property can be seen from the street. An entire walk around trail carries farther back into the brush, home to old buildings that once stood tall as a part of Vanderhoof’s heritage such as, an old school house, cabin, pickers gill and church. Mr. Winston and his wife Colette are both members of the society and feel the site has big potential that is not yet lived up to.

“Anything can be restored,” said Ms. Winston. “It would be fun to have the Old Chilko Church all fixed up sitting out front so people could get married in it again.There is really so much more that could be happening here. It could be a real drawing card.”

 

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