Over the summer and into 2016, KCR is undertaking an exterior renovation project at our studioffice at 308a Hall St. The Project will restore and upgrade the access and exterior of the last remaining original building of the historic Chinatown neighbourhood of downtown Nelson, British Columbia.
The photo above was taken from Gyro Park in 1914. We are the building on the left.
Purchased by Kootenay Co-op Radio in 2005, the building underwent a full interior restoration in 2006/7, and currently operates as a vibrant cultural hub. The project will beautify the exterior, address outstanding safety concerns around the back entrance, build new stairs, and reinforce the back deck roof.
Kootenay Co-op Radio is a lively and popular cultural hub of the region, providing over 150 volunteers access to the airwaves through our on air studios and recording and training spaces. Our downstairs performance and meeting space allows members of the public to attend our monthly presentations of touring Canadian and international musicians, and provides a critical meeting space for regional organizations and community groups. The building we own is a unique cultural landmark – the only remaining original edifice from the historic Chinatown Neighbourhood of Nelson. Out of necessity, the interior of the building was gutted and completely restored in 2006/7, and customised to house our radio station and studios. A high functioning building from the inside, the exterior was left untouched, and is in need of both beautification and addressing safety concerns identified upon the building’s purchase. By maintaining and beautifying the exterior of our building at 308A Hall Street in Nelson, Kootenay Co-op Radio will enhance our function and reputation as a meeting place for a broad cross section of local residents and community groups. By addressing outstanding safety concerns of our back entrance, we can welcome larger community groups to our meeting spaces, and accommodate higher capacities for our performances, and by improving the roof over our back deck, we will ensure that our outdoor events can take place regardless of the unpredictable weather in our area.
The building at 308a Hall St is currently under consideration by the Province of BC to receive historic places recognition as part of the initiative to help British Columbians understand the impacts of historical
wrongs against Chinese Canadians and the achievements of Chinese Canadians. It was recommended that historic places be inventoried, and from that a legacy initiative to formally recognize significant historic places under section 18 of the Heritage Conservation Act has been developed. A public nomination process was held in early 2015, and 138 nominations representing 77 places were received for consideration.
From the nomination report - http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/download/77A169108FAF4F3293BF789736CFA40B?assetId=77A169108FAF4F3293BF789736CFA40B&filename=historic_places_nomination_report_may_15_2015.pdf
"Sing Chong Laundry and Chinatown
Along with King’s Family Restaurant (not nominated) these two sites have significance for their representation of the multiple layers of Chinese Canadian heritage in the city of Nelson, which still has a very vibrant Chinese Canadian community. These places have value for commemorating the significant contribution of Chinese Canadians to the early development of Nelson. Captured in famous literary writings such as Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill, the small Chinese Canadian cafés and other businesses of Nelson are
an exemplar of other such places in small towns across B.C. The location of the businesses are also important as a reminder of the broader processes of segregation and historical amnesia that have led the history of Chinese Canadians and their businesses to be forgotten as the places in which they lived and worked became a node for government, transport and industry."
To date we have received generous support from the city of Nelson and Areas E and F through the Comminuity Initiatives Program. We are actively seeking other sources of funds in order to complete this project.