The future of the Lakeside Presbyterian Church building is not known, but since the congregation has been disbanded, concerns have been raised about the possibility that this building could be lost.
The 225-seat building is more than a century old and features a pipe organ.
The heritage value of this church has been recognized since at least the 1980s, when it was given heritage designation. However, the rules governing such designation have changed since that time.
The community has a list of 65 heritage properties, but this list does not provide protection to these buildings.
Those who have long connections to Summerland can recount stories of historic buildings which have been demolished or renovated to the point that the heritage elements are no longer as noticeable as in the past.
Heritage preservation is important in any community.
Once a building has been destroyed, it is gone forever. Once a building has undergone extensive renovations, there is little chance it will be put back to its original condition in the future.
The difficulty comes in finding a workable method to achieve this goal.
An official list of historic buildings and sites has little value if the buildings can be destroyed or modified extensively.
A stronger designation, preventing the demolition or modification of heritage buildings, would keep the buildings in place, but could also render them much more difficult to sell.
It is also important to remember that heritage buildings may require repairs and additional work more frequently than newer buildings.
The costs of the upkeep and maintenance need to be considered. Otherwise, the result could be an aging building on a valuable piece of land.
Summerland’s past deserves to be remembered and one way of doing this is by preserving buildings from earlier years.
Although it is needed, a good strategy to preserve heritage buildings will not come easily.