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Creston’s historic white grain elevator to be deconstructed

Salvage efforts will focus on reusing valuable materials for community projects, ensuring that the historical essence of the site is preserved.

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Columbia Basin Trust has decided to deconstruct the white grain elevator in Creston, British Columbia, due to insurmountable engineering, health, safety, and financial challenges. Despite significant restoration efforts for the red grain elevator, the white elevator is beyond feasible conservation.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision as the grain elevators are an iconic part of Creston’s history and skyline,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “While the red elevator could be restored, unfortunately the white elevator’s condition is beyond feasible reclamation. We will commence careful deconstruction to address immediate safety risks and retain as much building material as possible for other community purposes.”

Deconstruction has begun, with efforts to salvage valuable first-growth timbers and historic equipment. These materials will be repurposed for future projects, and documentation through videos and photographs will be used to create display signage. The Trust will collaborate with the community to determine the best uses for the salvaged materials and explore potential future uses for the site.

“As we celebrate 100 years of incorporation, we also recognize that the years bring changes,” said Creston Mayor Arnold DeBoon. “This decision is part of that change and, although it impacts our town’s skyline, it’s being done for the right reasons. We hope the elevator’s materials live on in creative projects. Thank you, Columbia Basin Trust, for conserving the red elevator and making the best decision for the deteriorated white elevator.”

Restoration of the red elevator began in 2019 and included removing hazardous materials, stabilizing the structure, adding new roofs and lightning rods, replacing siding, repainting, and rebuilding doors and windows. The Trust invested significant funds into this project with additional support from partners.

Roger Tierney, RDCK Electoral Area B Director, commended the Trust: “The restoration of the iconic Alberta Wheat Pool grain elevator in Creston is of historical significance to our province and valley, representing an era in the development of our agricultural sector.”

In 2018, the Trust purchased the elevators, built in 1935 and 1936, to preserve the region’s history. These six-storey-high structures were used to collect, store, and ship locally grown wheat, barley, oats, and rye until the 1980s.

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