Slots cash to fund train station restoration study

Some of the profits from slot machines at Chances Gaming Centre are to pay for a feasibility study into the possibility of restoring Courtenay’s heritage train station.
On Monday, City council agreed to allocate $6,500 from its gaming income to cover the cost of the study, which is being promoted by Courtenay Rotary Club in partnership with the Island Corridor Foundation – the owner of the building.
The station was built exactly 100 years ago and whether or not passenger train services are ever restored, Rotarians believe the building could become a real community focus and facility.  As a demonstration of their confidence, they have already funded the re-roofing of the building to limit any further deterioration.
Six non-profit groups already use the building, but the nominal income generated is insufficient to make any impact on a restoration project.
The study will identify and catalogue the extent and complexity of work needed for both interior and exterior restoration, although Rotary has indicated if the project is seen to be feasible they would be interested in taking on key tasks as a community project.
The City’s director of community services, Randy Wiwchar, told Council the station and its location alongside the progressively lengthening Rotary Trail “has the opportunity to be an important hub in reinvigorating and beautifying the area.”
He added:  “The opportunity would preserve a historic building; provide for a central community gathering space along a trail connecting 26th Street to downtown; and assist in improving the vitality of Courtenay’s downtown.
“As well, the exterior of the building could be completed in Courtenay’s centennial year in 2015, making this an excellent centennial legacy.”
If the restoration does get a head of steam behind it, the idea is that the City will get involved in negotiating a long-term lease for the building to secure its future and public access to it.  But those details will be the subject of a future debate and vote.
The City is making no commitment – at least at this stage – to help fund the actual restoration, although heritage funds from other sources may well be available to supplement any further contributions offered by Courtenay Rotary Club.
But the council voted unanimously to fund the study from its gaming income so the implications could be properly assessed.
By Philip Round/ Echo Staff / Comox Valley Echo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *