Brent's Grist Mill heritage site deteriorating quickly

Brent's Grist Mill near Dilworth Drive.

KELOWNA - What do you do when your heritage is crumbling faster than than you can review it?

Brent's Grist Mill, one of the city’s premier heritage sites, is rapidly crumbling and cannot wait for council’s heritage review to be fixed, according to a consultant’s report.

“So it’s a catch-22 scenario. If we don’t spend the money now, we can’t do it later, if we don’t spend it now, we’re done,” Coun. Charlie Hodge says.

Council is in the midst of a heritage review that is supposed to prioritize heritage sites within the city and educate councillors on how to best assess them when considering their future.

Brent’s Grist Mill was built in 1871 and is viewed by many as one of the premier heritage sites in Kelowna, but the three buildings on the site near Dilworth Drive are falling apart — the victim of graffitti vandals, Mother Nature and just plain neglect.

The money staff is proposing be spent, $210,000 from the 2015 budget, will only just halt some of the deterioration and keep the buildings going until a formal restoration plan is adopted.

Coun. Ryan Donn says he feels there is no real plan going forward and the money they are spending is not going to solve anything.

However, Mayor Colin Basran counters Donn, pointing to the upcoming heritage review due this fall.

“We will have a plan once this is done. The problem is if we don’t spend this money now, the asset is lost.”

Basran says the grist mill site, situated as it is near the future rail trail corridor, has a bright future as a tourism and cultural attraction.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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