LETTER: Mount St. Francis would make good student housing

From reader Peter Bartl

Re: ‘“Selkirk college faces Student housing crunch

Upon reading this story I was reminded of the sad fate of our world class historic building, that languishes in our midst, facing an uncertain future.

Wouldn’t the Mount St. Francis building be an ideal location for student housing? It is empty, government owned (Interior Health) and already structured for small rooms. It is within walking distance to Tenth Street campus.

It was designed by our most illustrious architect Ilsa Williams in 1950. Most importantly it is a world class building that should be heritage protected. It is known among architects as a world class building as far away as Australia and Montreal. Many Nelsonites have sad or happy memories from visiting their elderly relatives.

I’ve heard the objections before: the building is full of asbestos and it would cost too much! What cost a bit of heritage and civic pride?

It is about time that we in Nelson recognize what a gem we have in our midst.

Peter Bartl

Author of The Modern Heritage of Nelson Architecture

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