A group is working to make sure the Cumberland United Church receives heritage designation. Photo from Google Maps.
CUMBERLAND, B.C. – A dedicated group of Cumberland residents is fighting hard for the preservation of the Cumberland United Church building.
Meaghan Cursons has worked on multiple projects and with a variety of groups in the Village. The preservation of the church is one of her latest endeavours.
Cursons spoke in front of Cumberland Council on Monday, Jan. 8th on behalf of the group looking to save the old building.
“As we (the Village) change quickly, we are also at risk of losing some of the incredible stories, the artifacts of our collective histories and the symbols of our working-class routes,” she said.
“The Cumberland United Church building is one of these symbols.”
Meaghan Cursons speaks with Cumberland council on Jan. 8, 2018. Photo by Justin Goulet/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
The building is currently owned by the BC Conference of the United Church of Canada. Cursons said they have expressed support for the community heritage values of the space. The church is up for sale, which Cursons said means the long-term commitment to those heritage values cannot be guaranteed.
“In a perfect world, we would love to see the Village of Cumberland make an offer to purchase it,” she said.
“In partnership with the community, provide leadership for all of us to come together, work with our credit union and our investors, collect our empty cans and buy it.”
She said the current owner has “indicated that a purchase for the collective community good would be their preference”.
“We know that the business case for heritage building conservation by local government is difficult to make,” she said.
“The case for honouring our community’s history and protecting the symbols of Cumberland’s early struggles, triumphs, weddings and deaths is worth making.”
The church was built in 1894, and held its final service on November 26th, 2017.
“This is much more than just a building. The value added by the stories embedded within the walls are significant,” Cursons said.
The community-led group is asking for the Village’s support in protecting the church, which includes possibly purchasing the building and making sure it receives special heritage designation.
Following Cursons presentation, Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird voiced her support for the preservation of the church building.