Heritage BC workshop shines light on community values

Heritage workshop to celebrate Sparwood's community values

  • Nov. 16, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Sparwood’s Official Community Plan (OCP) calls for the promotion and celebration of our community’s heritage, through another informative workshop.

“How can we go about achieving that if we don’t have a clear narrative of Sparwood’s heritage and how it fits in with the significant stories of its surroundings?” asked Nelson Wight, Manager of Planning for the District of Sparwood.

The District of Sparwood has initiated a series of community workshops where collectively, Sparwood can consider this question and begin to plan inspirational and effective ways to meet the OCP’s goals.

Workshop number one, held in June 2016, started the dialogue by looking at existing heritage programs and initiatives in Sparwood and the surrounding region.

“We asked and heard about what is happening locally and regionally with respect to heritage planning and activities,” said Wight.

Contributing speakers were from the Michel Natal Sparwood Heritage Society, the Ktunaxa Nation, Fernie Historical Society, Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History and the Crowsnest Pass Historical Society. The presentations were inspiring and evoked many questions and ideas. Many participants felt heartened to see the successes of local and neighbouring groups in celebrating their heritage and engaging the public in their activities. It was also acknowledged that there are exciting partnership opportunities to be generated from working together.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us!” Wight exclaimed.

Workshop number two which is planned for Nov. 22., will embark on the exploration and identification of our community’s preliminary heritage values with a fresh and inclusive perspective, aided by the guidance of professionals at Heritage BC.

“We aspire to find meaningful and creative ways to acknowledge the traumatic loss of historic mining towns including Michel and Natal – a void that is so intertwined with the story of Sparwood. We will also consider whether the story of Sparwood can be broadened to include events, peoples and places before and after these losses – opening up the opportunity to collaborate with neighbouring communities in finding how our individual stories mesh into a larger narrative with regional historical context,” said Wight. “We’d like to begin to learn what heritage conservation means and how to allocate our resources in the most effective and meaningful way for the community.”

At the workshop, Heritage BC will present case studies showing how comparable communities have dealt with these questions and successfully created a heritage program that can adapt to the community’s story and needs as it evolves. Stemming from workshop number two, they’ll identify next steps in this process both for the identification of Sparwood’s heritage values and for developing an innovative heritage program to acknowledge and celebrate them.

“Nurturing and growing the relationships with our peers is important to us,” said Wight.

Workshop number two will include representatives from all the groups who contributed to workshop number one and the District of Sparwood hopes to see many familiar and new faces from within the Sparwood community.

“We believe that a meaningful relationship and connection with the Ktunaxa people is key to this process, and we are thrilled they have joined us as key participants in the workshops.” added Wight.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided at the workshop which will be held at the Sparwood Fire Hall. With over 30 attendees expected to take part, the fire hall can hold up to 60. To RSVP for the workshop or learn more, email sparwood@sparwood.ca or call 250.425.6271

To learn about Heritage BC, the facilitators of Workshop # 2 visit heritagebc.ca