By David F. Rooney
The wrapping has finally been stripped off of the historic Provincial Court House roof and dome. Now take a deep breath before you behold it’s brand-new look. It’s different… really different.
Here are some photos to set the visual context:
In 2011 City Council was told that there was a serious leakage problem on the rook of the Provincial Court House. The municipal Heritage Committee recommended that real copper sheeting to used to make the repairs
At the time,City Councillors had budgeted $300,000 for the project and it put the roof repair job out to tender including both the installation of an elastomeric membrane and the copper replacement option. An elastomeric membrane is an acrylic membrane that would coat the existing copper roof, sealing the areas that are deteriorating. An elastomeric membrane would cost about $150,000 and would last about 20 years. A new copper roof was originally estimated to cost about $313,000 but would last at least 80 years, which was the length of time the original roof lasted before it required repairs in the 1990s. However, the actual cost of an all-copper roof was later estimated to be between $313,000 and $650,000. The City had also received $50,000 towards this project from the Columbia Basin Trust.
The choice seemed clear — go with the rubber roof.
But then a decades-long buildup of toxic lead paint was revealed. That rocked Council when it was revealed that fixing that would cost the court house dome project an additional $175,000.
Heritage Commission Chairman Mike Dragani said the colour was as close as they could come to a true verdigris. In any event, he said, the City can — sometime down the road — replace the rubber on the roof, perhaps even with real copper.