RDKB purchases historic site

The RDKB board agreed to buy Hardy Mountain Doukhobor Village Historic Site building and lands from The Land Conservancy.

Signage remains at Hardy Mountain Doukhobor Village Historic Site despite the property falling into disuse.

The Hardy Mountain Doukhobor Village Historic Site is now in the hands of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB).

At its monthly meeting Thursday in Grand Forks, the RDKB board agreed to buy the site’s building and lands from The Land Conservancy (TLC), via the transfer of the property’s title and assumption of the mortgage of approximately $37,892.50 (depending on closing date).

The Land Conservancy approached the RDKB about buying the site, explained Area D/Rural Grand Forks director Roly Russell.

“They were coming to us because they had a property that had specific restrictions on it for its use and they thought they would come to us first,” he said, adding that from his perspective, it’s a fairly low-risk opportunity.

Given The Land Conservancy’s filing for bankruptcy and a “Plan of Compromise and Arrangement” with the Supreme Court, the decision to purchase the property was deemed urgent.

“We’re now at the point where we can get into the planning of how we are going to move forward with the property; we do not have any concrete plans at this point,” Russell said.

The ideal scenario would be to establish partnerships with any groups interested in the site.

“That’s a big conversation that we have yet to get to,” the director added.

Possible uses of the buildings and lands include educational, historical, cultural and tourist purposes.

Costs for the proposal will be covered with Area D gas tax funds.

The Hardy Mountain Doukhobor Historic Village Site is a 16.9 acre property containing what remains of the historic Makortoff Doukhobor Village and overlooks the Kettle River and Granby River valleys. It’s located in Area D one kilometre west of the city and is within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The village was acquired by TLC from the previous owner who operated the heritage building as a museum and tourist attraction. The property is significant culturally as it represents the only remaining Doukhobor “great house” in B.C. on its original site and has been designed as a heritage service by the RDKB as well as a historic site by the National Trust for Canada.

The site is largely intact and the communal house is still in an exceptionally good state of repair. This acreage was also the site of many other village buildings, of which five are still standing. They too are full of historic implements and tools that were used by the Doukhobor pioneers to farm the land.