Historic building makes way for expansion

Project planned for the site of the B.C. Pea Growers office and warehouse in Armstrong

A historic Armstrong building has made way for what council believes will be an exciting addition to the downtown core.

Development variance permits have been granted to Shepherd’s Hardware to allow construction of what will become Shepherd’s’ outdoor living centre at the site of what used to be the B.C. Pea Growers office and warehouse at 2410 and 2460 Pleasant Valley Boulevard.

Shepherd’s purchased the buildings, which formerly housed the Junction Cafe and Armstrong Antiques.

“I think this will be a fantastic improvement to the downtown core,” said Coun. Ryan Nitchie. “It will be a very welcome addition.”

The new building will be detached from the existing Shepherd’s facility.

It is anticipated the outdoor living centre will be open in April 2014.

To make way for the project, the old buildings, along with a ceremonial tree planted by the Bosomworth family when the pea growers office opened, had to come down.

The buildings were not classified as heritage.

“We know the buildings had significant history in Armstrong,” said Jim Hudson, spokesperson for Shepherd’s. “We worked to see if we could fit the building into our new development. We couldn’t, so we put an offer out to anybody that wanted the building for free to try and save it, and we’d even pay some money to help move it.

“We worked with about five different groups but everything fell apart for various reasons.”

Hudson said Shepherd’s worked with the Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum and “a whole pile of people” to see if there were artifacts that could be salvaged from the building.

“We think we tried to save it, and it was sad to take it down,” he said.

As Shepherd’s is putting in a garden centre, company officials tried to see if there was a way they could utilize the tree.

However, a 35-foot branch fell in September and as the tree was being inspected, more issues were found.

“We’ve donated some of the wood to different areas and kept some of the wood to make commemorative benches,” said Hudson.

On the inside of the new building, a commemorative wall at the back will include black and white photos of the old pea growers office and tree.

“We’re in no way trying to turn our back on Armstrong’s history,” said Hudson of the new development. “We really believe in Armstrong. We know this has been a sensitive area to people and it is to us as well.”