Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Citizens file B.C. Ombudsperson complaint against Hope Council in Station House fracas

Demolition contract has been awarded, completed by April 30

The Coalition for the Preservation of the Hope Station House has filed a complaint to the Office of the B.C. Ombudsperson against the District of Hope, claiming unfair treatment and a lack of transparency when making decisions on the Hope Station House.

Hope CAO John Fortoloczky confirmed the district awarded a contract to demolish the Station House to Summit Earthworks, Inc., and a notice to proceed has also been issued. The exact start date for demolition has not been determined, but the complete date is scheduled for no later than April 30.

“District staff continue to act in accordance with the strict direction as set out by Council,” Fortoloczky said in a brief statement.

The B.C. Ombudsperson investigates complaints from members of the public about government administrations, programs or services, including allegations against former and current provincial government employees.

RELATED: Council unanimously moves forward with Hope Station House demolition

The five-page letter from Christian Ward on the Coalition’s behalf lists 10 complaints against Council, including claims Council made decisions based on and distributing inaccurate information, neglecting to apply for grants to renovate the building and a failure to maintain the building while it was under their care.

“We…believe we have been treated unfairly,” the letter reads. “In making this decision the District of Hope is erasing important local and provincial history, not representing the 2,173 people that our Coalition represents, and furthermore they are turning their back on the potential economic, financial, environmental and societal gains from renovating and repurposing a heritage building for tourism purposes.”

The 2,173 people Ward refers to in the complaint letter is the number of signatures gathered on a petition to save the Station House, which was launched via the website SumOfUs late last year.

RELATED: Petition to save Hope’s station house gets 1,000+ signatures

With notes of reluctance, the District of Hope council unanimously passed a resolution during their Feb. 22 meeting that the demolition of the Station House proceed as planned, denying the request for a stay of demolition. During this same meeting, the Coalition presented their most recent findings to district officials, including possible funding streams and potential economic benefits via tourism.

The Coalition seeks the following action from Council:

1. An immediate stay of demolition.

2. An opportunity to engage in discussion with the Council about their research and ideas.

3. That the council works with the province to extend the lease on the land to allow time for options to be explored

4. That the District abides by the agreement to maintain and operate the Station house for the community’s benefit.

Ward told The Standard the complaint – marked urgent – has been passed on to the Ombudsperson’s investigative team.

The Hope Station House is one of two remaining historic buildings in the district and the last of three station houses that once stood in the immediate area surrounding Hope.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Surrey councillor trying to get policing referendum on the table, again

‘I’m sending it back for clarification,’ mayor decides

A simulation lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital has been helping healthcare professionals train during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Memorial Hospital’s simulation lab trains professionals during COVID-19 pandemic

Surrey Hospitals Foundation contributing $100K toward new technologies

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Dr. Bonnie Henry says Surrey immunization targeted at neighbourhoods most at risk

‘What we’ve been looking at is the case rates by neighbourhood,’ provincial health officer says

A horse and driver cruise around the track at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale Sept. 14, 2020 amid smoke from U.S. forest fires. Harness Racing B.C. announced it’s halting the spring season two weeks early because of a lack of money and says racing won’t continue in September without and influx of cash. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Harness racing suspended at Fraser Downs

Spring season ends early, 135 workers out of jobs

Delta police are asking for the public’s help in locating 80-year-old Bob Stout, who police believe went missing from his Tsawwassen home between 1 and 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 16. (Delta Police Department/submitted photos)
UPDATE: Missing senior found safe

Police think Bob Stout, 80, went missing from his Tsawwassen home between 1 to 8:30 a.m. April 16

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

B.C.’s Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (Black Press Media files)
‘Stereotypes’ not an issue in Langley sex assault ruling, Court of Appeal says

The Court of Appeal upheld a conviction in two attacks on a 17-year-old

Most Read