Kamloops local keeps history of downtown, within downtown, through salvaged red brick
Margot Middleton was on the lookout for red brick for her new house when Kelson Group started their work on their City Gardens project. When she first heard of the group’s new development, little did she know that the answer to her prayers for red brick was much closer to home than she had ever imagined.
“The original text message I got was from my daughter who works at the RCMP office and goes out on daily walks. She knew I had old red bricks on my radar as part of the design for my house build. She texted to say a house on Battle Street was being moved and it looked like there was a bunch of red brick there,” said Middleton.
Middleton immediately made a call to Kelson Group, who put her in touch with Sandi Hall of Hall Environmental.
“I said we were building a new house in the downtown area; it’s a character home, and I am looking for red brick if there is any available. I was told that yes, the brick was available and all they were asking for in return was a donation to be made to a local good cause in the Kamloops area,” she said.
Middleton made arrangements with the crew on the site to pick up the brick with a small group of six people, including her husband, children and grandchildren.
“We appreciated the opportunity and made a donation back to the Western Canada Theatre,” she said.
Middleton’s new house in downtown Kamloops, with husband Mike Waithe, at 1059 Pine Street will soon feature red bricks in their living room fireplace, as well as in a feature wall, all salvaged from the former 435 Battle Street house.
“In the house we are building, we have been trying to utilize used products wherever we can, as opposed to buying new. Wherever we can, the thought of reusing and not having stuff go off to the landfill has been a priority for us,” she said. “We are big on recycling, repurposing, and reusing and Kelson Group making this opportunity available was just perfect.”
Middleton, who has lived in Kamloops for 45 years, has seen the 435 Battle Street house and the other houses from that area, on her walks. While she always admired these houses, she explained that these character homes weren’t really built to last hundreds of years.
“It is really nice to find and pick things that you can salvage and repurpose through these houses,” she said.
According to Middleton, when older homes are no longer viable, we need to do a transformation to create communities that are more walkable, more accessible, and closer to amenities. To achieve all of this, building the downtown upwards to accommodate density, through condos and multi-family homes such as the City Gardens development, is the way to go. And while doing this, maintaining a piece of history, the way the group is doing, was admirable, according to Middleton.
“It is inspiring to have some of the history of that area repurposed,” said Middleton. “It is also so great that they have took the initiative to offer salvaging and recycling, and have it reused by members of the community, not for a price but simply by asking for a donation for a local cause.”