Salmon Arm  

Save the house

A group in Salmon Arm has its fingers crossed ahead of a city council meeting this month that may reveal the fate of a well-known heritage house in the city.

Dilkusha, meaning 'my heart is happy', was built in 1912 for Lt.-Col. Bernard Scott and his family who emigrated to Canada after 20 years in India.

In the early '80s, the British Indian colonial style house on 22nd Street NE was turned into a popular restaurant but it closed suddenly and sat empty for approximately two years before being purchased last November by the city. It had plans to bulldoze the aging structure and build a new aquatic centre and a parking lot, but there are efforts afoot to save it.

“We have very few original houses in the city,” explained Maureen Shaffer of the Preserving Dilkuska committee. “This is our heritage. The city has a heritage plan.”

The committee has held six meetings with members of council and the Community Heritage Commission in an effort to save and restore the building.

Shaffer conceded the house is in need of repairs because it had been sitting empty but believes it could be of more value to Salmon Arm if it remained standing.

“The city has only a few heritage homes. It shouldn't be flattened.”

She said Salmon Arm's history is interwoven with that of the Scott family who had one of the finest Macintosh apple orchards of the time. Scott also had a sideline in tulips which he grew and shipped across the country as far as Montreal.

“The farm was the place to go in the '20s and '30s because it was ablaze with colour,” said Shaffer. “Can you imagine half a million tulips growing?”

Shaffer also stressed that the Preserving Dilkusha group fully supports the addition of a new aquatic centre and parking but "there is a way that the City of Salmon Arm can have the new facility, parking and a lovely old heritage building that has been given new life, so that the community can enjoy the entire venue, that the various complexes on the site and nearby area provide."

City council is expected to make a decision on the house and land at its Mar. 27 meeting, Shaffer said. 

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