Concerned Avola residents see schoolhouse victory

A vote in Avola by the Thompson Headwaters services committee on Oct. 22 will protect the 1939 one-room log schoolhouse

Editor, The Times:

A unanimous vote in Avola by the Thompson Headwaters services committee (Area B TNRD) on Oct. 22 will protect the 1939 one-room log schoolhouse’s characteristics while interior renovations go ahead. Both chalkboards will be retained, no whiteboard will be installed, and the existing furnishings will not end up in the landfill.

The controversy began in June, 2013, when THSC authorized exterior renovations including ground walnut shell pressure treatment and stain of the previously untreated logs. Protesters blocked the driveway. TNRD met with the protesters but decided to go ahead. However, only about two handfuls of the medium was used when photos demonstrated damage had occurred to the logs.

Next on the to-do list was the interior. Again, residents found the THSC proposals unacceptable. Throughout the summer months, alternative suggestions were sent to the committee members, the Area B director and the services coordinator. An official THSC survey and open house in the Avola schoolhouse on Oct. 8, gave Avola residents a voice regarding the interior renovations and at the TNRD Area B business meeting on Oct. 22, the majority message of the residents was heard.

“The concerned residents of Avola” would like to thank the experts they contacted who offered facts, resources, education, strategies and encouragement through these five months: Anna Lord (communication specialist), Kathy Paulos (Ashcroft Museum), Don Pierce and Bob Hampton (Hat Creek Ranch), Melody Formanski (Kamloops Heritage Society), Ric Goodacre (executive director, Heritage BC), Eric Pattison (architect), Don Luxton (heritage consultant), James Walford (Revelstoke Heritage Society), Randy Manuel (Okanagan Heritage), Steven Schneider (Kramer Industries), Richard Deckert (industry specialist), Shannon de Delley (Absolute Power and Controls), Dave Deckert (construction), and Sal Kahn (Ocean Restoration).

Valuable research materials include: “Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada”, “The One-Room School in Canada (Jean Cochrane), “The Rural School Problem in British Columbia in the 1920’s” (Paul Stortz,University of Calgary).

In addition, former students, teachers, school board members and residents of Avola were very helpful with their recollection of the value of the Avola log school: Royce and Nancy (Holt) Gibson, Evelyn (Craig) McKay, Bob and Colleen (Herns) Jensen, Doris (Jensen) Scarff, James Walford, Rebecca (West) Beaton, Annabelle Stevens, Cheryl Thomas, Lloyd Strickland, Jean Nelson, Jane Olson, Muriel (Polson) Dunford and the Avola Book Club.

Thank you to Kamloops Daily News and Clearwater Times for covering this story.

Eleanor Deckert


Avola, B.C.