By David F. Rooney
Okay. Council has okayed a rubber roof for the court house. What colour should it be? Blue? Green? Magenta? That’s not as odd a question as it seems since the colour you see on it now is not the natural colour of oxidized copper, but a blue-green slapped on the dome when the province reno’d the court house back in the 1990s.
Heritage Commission Chairman Mike Dragani thinks the community at large needs to be consulted before any colour is selected for the court house roof. An arbitrary selection by Engineering and Public Works or Council could result in a real public uproar.
He said the roof’s copper sheath has, for whatever reason, been painted at least twice. He does not recall what colour it was before the provincial government spent millions renovating the historic building in the 1990s. But he does know that someone somewhere decided it should be painted the peculiar greenish-blue it is today. For better or worse, an entire generation of Revelstokians have grown up with that colour. For all we know, they may think it is the natural colour of oxidized copper — it’s not — or it has always been like that — it hasn’t.
Dragani and the rest of the Heritage Commission would prefer to have the court house roof repaired using only copper sheeting, but the City’s estimated cost of $300,000 – $600,000 for that kind of repair job is beyond Revelstoke’s financial means at this time. And the repair job can’t be put off, hence Council’s decision to opt for a $150,000 (offset by a $50,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust) Kemper System waterproofing membrane to fix the damaged roof. Lest anyone think this is cheap and cheesy alternative, these membranes have been used, in the United States, to repair the Empire State Building’s metal roof and the Philadelphia Art Museum’s roof.
“The City simply doesn’t have the money,” he said in an interview. “We (the Commission) accept that. But we a city we have to be as responsive as possible to the real need to preserve and protect the interior of the court house from damage due to leakage.”
He agreed with Engineering and Public Works Operations Manager Darren Komonski’s description of the situation as “dire.”
“If it’s going to leak this coming winter — and Darren says that’s a certainty — then we have to step up and get it done,” Dragani said. “We have only a short window of opportunity to do that (basically the usually dry months of July, August and September).”
With the public seemingly willing to accept the application of a waterproof membrane as a repair, Council needs to determine what colour the roof should be — the same colour as it is now, presuming it can be matched exactly, or something different?
What do you think?