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Looking at regional heritage

Open houses focused on heritage planning are now underway in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

The public is being invited to provide feedback on the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Heritage Strategic Plan in Penticton, Osoyoos, Keremeos and Princeton.

"The purpose is to get folks out and hear what they value," said Lindsay Bourque, rural projects coordinator. "It's also an educational opportunity and we have different themes we are working with."

Among the themes are a vision of paradise, diverse landscape, local ingenuity and connecting an isolated region.

The first open house on Wednesday, at Penticton's Leir House, was well attended by community members, as well as some local historians and politicians.

People studied a map and looked at old pictures and theme boards, before posting their feedback.

Penticton historian Randy Manuel described the project as a good one, coming at a time when the provincial government is essentially downloading the responsibility for heritage sites to regional governments.

"What's important about this is that traditionally in the past, we have thought of heritage as a building or a railway or neighbourhoods," he said. "But in more recent years, people are more aware, part of the heritage is the landscape in which we live and how that landscape has affected the cultural development of the people who live there."

The opportunities for input continue:

  • at an open house today (Thursday), at the Osoyoos Museum, 4 to 8 p.m.
  • May 30 at the Keremeos Grist Mill, 4 to 8 p.m.
  • May 31 at the Princeton Museum, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In the fall, the RDOS will present what it has heard, along with a draft of the plan for review and comments.

"If local government has feedback from communities, they can use that as criteria for recognizing heritage sites," said Bourque.

People are advised to continue checking the RDOS website for ongoing information about the Regional Heritage Strategic Plan.

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