The owners of the Brilliant School want to subdivide the property for two residential homes. (Photo: John Boivin)

Proposal to subdivide Brilliant School lot questioned

Owners want to change zoning, but say heritage status will be protected

The owners of the historic Brilliant School want to subdivide the land it’s on, to the concern of some locals.

Rod and Kelly Makway have applied to the Regional District of Central Kootenay for permission to cut the 7.78-acre lot into three parcels to sell.

The grand building was built as a school in the 1920s, and used until the late 1990s, when it was purchased by the Columbia Basin Trust.

The property is currently zoned Heritage Commercial, and was used as a short-lived restaurant after the trust sold it in the early 2000s. The current owners have used it as a residence since about 2007.

While the Makways want to subdivide the property into three residential lots, they say the original school building will still be maintained as a private residence.

“We continue to ensure the maintenance and care due to a historically important landmark in our community,” the applicants say in their zoning application.

“We wish to apply for rezoning to better represent the actual land use,” they continue. “We are committed to maintaining the heritage requirement as set out in the heritage classification for the original building.”

With the zoning change would come a subdivision of the property to allow for new housing development.

But at least one local resident is raising an alarm bell about the zoning change.

Donna Smith has written a letter saying she’s concerned that changing the zoning to Residential from Heritage/Commercial would threaten the building’s future.

“This building holds a lot of special memories for children that attended school and staff that taught there,” Smith writes in a letter to the Castlegar News editor. “The Brilliant School is a beautiful example of Doukhobor architecture… If changed, this building would not be protected under historical zoning.”

Smith, whose husband Rick Smith sits as a director on the RDCK board, is calling on locals to let the board know if they too have concerns about the change.

The owners of the building were unavailable for comment.

Locals have until Nov. 8 to submit their comments to the RDCK.

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