Peachland Primary School Restoration Project
Created October 19, 2011 by Jennifer Bryan
**It’s all about kids, community…and bats!**
Our Idea is one that is truly unique, it brings together community, kids…and bats! We are renovating and restoring a 1908 heritage primary School in the heart of downtown Peachland, BC, which when completed, will be home to the new Peachland Visitor Centre, Chamber of Commerce, Boy & Girls Club and the largest Yuma Bat Colony in BC. The Aviva Grant funding will be used to help in the renovation and restoration of this historical, community based and ecologically sensitive project.
**The Kids / Youth**
A place to call home! Youth benefit most from having a place to call home, and this is exactly what the Okanagan Boys & Girls Clubs and the District of Peachland are working so hard to provide. This project is in response to the community need to provide local children and youth a central accessible location for recreation, arts, culture and social programming. The Peachland Youth Centre will also provide youth at risk with access to counseling services, food and a safe place to come for help.
Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs strive to provide children and youth across the Okanagan valley with a “good place to be”. A place to call their own, a place that they feel safe and supported, a place to have fun and to experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life. The school will become a hub for events and activities for children and youth in Peachland.
The Peachland Primary School Redevelopment Project will rejuvenate an “iconic” community heritage asset to provide more suitable and permanent space for several vitally important community services. This historic building was constructed in 1908 and has been home to generations of children until it closed 2003. There are only three public heritage buildings in Peachland, this being one of them.
In 2009, the District of Peachland Council made a commitment to keep this historic building and to partner with the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs and the Peachland Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Information Centre for the restoration of the building, and for development and operation of community services. The renovated Primary School will become a hub for events and activities for citizens, families, children and youth in Peachland.
The school will be a place of interest and focal point within the community. BC Tourism/Visitor Information Centre and the Chamber of Commerce will meet the needs of visitors and locals alike. Tourists can stop in and receive information about Peachland, in this beautifully restored space. The Chamber Office provides information and assistance to businesses and citizens of the Peachland Community. It will be a place of interest and value to residents and visitors alike, a place where youth, community groups, clubs, and service providers can find occasional or permanent meeting space and a place to showcase Peachland’s arts, culture and heritage.
Peachland bats, previously considered a nuisance, have now become a local phenomena. It has been known that the nocturnal mammals inhabited the 103 year old Peachland Primary School for decades, however, their numbers have only recently been revealed. Peachland Primary was closed in 2003 and recent refurbishing of the historic building revealed a massive roost.
Wildlife biologist, Aaron Reid from Ministry of Environment, estimates the colony to be upwards of 2000 Yuma bats making it one of BC’s largest colonies.
Bats in the attic of Peachland Primary School have created a unique educational experience. Bats are a protected species and are now considered valuable mammals in the eco system. They can eat up to three quarters of their body weight in insects each night and mosquitoes are their choice of diet, thus explaining why Peachland is virtually mosquito free.
A visit to the Peachland Visitor Centre will show how humans and bats can successfully co-habitat. For more information and view these bats on video camera visit www.peachlandbats.ca
**WHY SHOULD I VOTE?! - The Peachland Primary School Restoration Project will provide:**
-A permanent home for children and youth programs and services, providing them a sense of connectedness with their peers, and with positive adult role models in their community. Community connections like these are important for children and youth and give them a sense of belonging that can help them to overcome the challenges in their lives.
-A permanent home for the Visitor Information Centre/Chamber of Commerce, which will provide assistance and services to tourists, citizens and businesses as well as provide a place to showcase the art, culture and history of Peachland.
-A permanent home for the colony of protected species Yama Bats, which will ensure that they remain a valuable part of our eco system for years to come.
**Please HELP US give Peachland children & youth a place to call their own!**