The Kamloops Heritage Society is bowing out of its management contract with the City for operation of St. Andrew’s on the Square.
In a letter in today’s (Nov. 30, 2021) City council meeting agenda, society president Sheila Park says event revenues at the old church have dropped drastically during the pandemic. Therefore, she said, the society is declining an extension of its lease agreement to Dec. 31, 2023.
“When we applied for the extension in July it was with the hope that the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic would be waning. However with the additional surges and increasing, then decreasing regulations it has become evident that the recovery from the pandemic will take a number of years.”
She said the society intends to vacate St. Andrew’s by th end of this year.
The decision comes as a disappointment after many years of successful operations by the society, and following a controversy in which the City initially decided to take control of the facility away from the society but relented with an extension to the agreement.
Once again, the future of heritage structures is called into doubt. Can the City continue to run St. Andrew’s as a community facility? Can the heritage society rebound and form a new movement for the preservation of heritage in Kamloops?
Let’s hope the answer to both is yes.
— Mel Rothenburger.