Visiting city planners hold out hope for ‘Man of Steel’ sites

Featured prominently in the movie ‘Man of Steel’ – and its theatrical trailer – the former St. Aidan’s on the Hill in Ucluelet has fallen on hard times and a protracted battle over its usefulness, but visiting retired city planners who happened upon it Monday had hope for the building and its weather-beaten, peeling-paint exterior.

Piet Rutgers, a retired city planner from Vancouver who now lives in Courtenay, has played tourist in Ucluelet a dozen times, and he’s fascinated by the 1950’s vintage structure.

“We were captured by the stained glass window – it would

be nice to be able to see it, one way or the other,” he said, walking the building’s run-down exterior.

Rutgers was interested to hear of the tug-of-war over the property between investor Leif Hagar, and the District of Ucluelet and property inspectors still unconvinced of the structure’s service readiness. (See related story, Page 1) An old church, need for a new use – it’s not a new problem, Rutgers said.

“Hopefully some resolution can be found here that can preserve the heritage and put it to good use … the town of Ucluelet seems to be getting busier and busier, with more things to do for visitors and residents alike,” he said.

Dennis Attridge, a retired city

planner from Folkstone in Kent, England, said finding a new use for old is a universal problem,

seen all over the world – and certainly in his native Britain, where former churches are often repurposed as tourist centres or private homes or businesses.

“It’s a quest of resources, really, isn’t it? Of finding a use that will pay for the building’s upkeep and maintain its historic and architectural character,” he said.

“People’s needs change and the use of buildings have to change with them,” Attridge said.

“I think it requires some sort of bravery on the part of the original owners to concede that a new use is acceptable, and some sort of foresight in the community and the development industry to make it happen,” he said.

editor@westerlynews.ca

Just Posted

Organizers cancel 2019 Pacific Rim Whale Festival

Survey circulating to determine feasibility of revival.

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Author presents wolf research in Tofino

Paula Wild surprised by polarized views of animals that are both loved and hated.

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

B.C.’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Mistrial declared in Dennis Oland’s retrial in father’s murder

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016 and a new trial ordered. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

Most Read