Heritage BC Quarterly Spring 2012

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Spring 2012

A New Deal for the Heritage Properties A decade ago the provincial government decided it would devolve the system of historic sites known as the Heritage Properties. Within a couple of years operators, who were new in many cases, had signed 15-year Site Management Agreements that gave them broad responsibilities for the operation, administration and care of some of B.C.’s most important heritage resources. There have been problems with the devolution process from the outset. While these were varied in nature from site to site, basically they all came down to a single issue: the provincial government wanted to spend less on the Properties, while site managers found they could not fully meet their responsibilities under the terms of their agreements. After years of study and analysis, discussion, deliberation and delay, it appears that the site managers and the government have come to a new understanding. This understanding was expressed quantitatively in the February provincial budget which included $21 million in new funding over three years for the Heritage Properties. In this issue, we look at the history of devolution, the process that brought things to the current state, and the prospects for the future of B.C.’s flagship program of historic places. See full story page 6... BARKERVILLE GENERAL STORE (TOURISM BC: M. DORIGO)

HERITAGE BC Making our case to the provincial government PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: HERB STOVEL 2 Heritage Legacy Fund A Little goes a Long way 3 Heritage at risk hotels: Win some...Lose some 4 EDITORIAl Comment 5 Heritage Properties A DECade of Devolution 6-7 S’Gang Gwaay: A study in community involvement 8 Messages 10-11



Making Our Case On April 23, 2012 Heritage BC sat down with Mr. Steve Thomson, the minister responsible for heritage, to talk about our recently completed strategic plan. Released at the end of March, the plan was undertaken with funding support from Mr. Thomson’s ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.


Save the Date!

Shadbolt Centre Burnaby Friday, October 19, 2012 The Heritage BC Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony will be held at the Shadbolt Centre on Friday, October 19, 2012. The same location as last year, the decision was driven to a large extent by the current uncertainty about continuing funding for operations. A short program at this venue will keep costs to a minimum for both Heritage BC and conference attendees. There may also be some post conference events on Saturday. The program has yet to be finalized. Details will follow soon!

The plan proposes a vision of a revitalized organization that will emerge over the next three years, including a new relationship with the provincial government. Moving forward, Heritage BC will be a more mature and independent organization with a strong emphasis on self-sufficiency – more a ‘partner with’ than a ‘client of’ the provincial government. To realize this vision, Heritage BC is seeking one-time, up-front support from the province to establish a permanent funding base for operations – this was the central item on the agenda on April 23. While he has a very large portfolio to manage, Mr. Thomson’s genuine and personal interest in heritage was evident. But while supportive of the overall thrust of the strategic plan, the minister indicated he needs more specifics, and more assurance, which he can share with his colleagues at the Treasury Board, that the plan can be realized. With this in mind, the meeting concluded that Heritage BC will refine the broad vision and goals of the strategic plan into a detailed business case. The ministry for its part will provide additional funding to get the society through this next phase, an investment that will benefit both Heritage BC and the government.


Herb Stovel Herb Stovel, architect, teacher, writer and leader in the field of heritage conservation, passed away March 14, 2012. Herb’s career included work for the Heritage Canada Foundation and the Ontario Heritage Trust. He provided training courses for the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, policy development for Parks Canada, and advice to World Heritage sites. His academic career inspired many practitioners here in Canada and abroad, including The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome.

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Herb Stovel took a leadership role in every major institution in the heritage field, including Secretary-General of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) International, President of the Association for Preservation Technology International, President of ICOMOS Canada, and Governor-at-Large on the Heritage Canada Foundation’s board. He was recently honoured with the prestigious ICCROM Award in recognition of his importance in the development of seminal texts that guide professionals in the field.


A Little Goes A Long Way The board of the Heritage Legacy Fund society held its annual grant review meeting on April 29, 2012 at the head office of The Land Conservancy (TLC) in Esquimalt, near Victoria. The Heritage Legacy Fund is a joint initiative of Heritage BC and TLC, with the provincial government sitting as an ex officio member of the board. Since 2010 the HLF has held just one grant review a year. The meeting takes place in spring so that grant recipients can get on with their outdoor projects during the summer months of good weather. Grants are provided for conservation projects, typically a heritage structure or structures, and heritage awareness. The board approved grants for 10 conservation projects, two of them for the maximum $25,000 allowed under the program. These were the Japanese Language School in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and the Green Thumb Players society which is leading an ambitious project to re-purpose Vancouver’s historic Carleton School as a venue for community theatre. As usual, there were a lot of applications for new roofs. Roof replacement is cyclical and a major building maintenance expense. It is also the first priority when it comes to protecting the overall fabric of a structure. The most difficult job for the board was apportioning the grant amounts. With fourteen projects to support and a grants budget of just over $160,000 for the year, there were many hard choices to make. In most cases, successful applicants did not receive the full amount of their request. Experience has shown, however, that even small amounts of funding can make a big difference. Recipients are generally very grateful for what funding they do receive, and many say that the grant is the deciding factor in moving their project ahead. This can be especially true in smaller communities where grants and fund raising opportunities are limited. Some very modest projects – two grants this year were for a single interpretation sign – can also spark community interest in heritage and leverage other ideas and support. The HLF is always looking for ways to use limited resources in a strategic fashion. The ultimate purpose of the program is to encourage and support community-based heritage conservation.

HLF Supports Heritage BC...Again The Heritage Legacy Fund has provided $50,000 to Heritage BC for operations in 2012. The HLF has been providing operating funds to Heritage BC since 2009 when the provincial government terminated support. Since then, the HLF has supplied Heritage BC with a total of $360,000. Without these funds, Heritage BC would be out of business. The downside of this relationship is that funding to Heritage BC has necessarily cut into the budget community grants. Nonetheless, the HLF continues to fund community heritage projects and awarding the 14 grants listed in the sidebar.

Heritage BC Quarterly


Reach the heritage conservation market in B.C. Visit our website for Introductory Rates with 10% discount for HBC Corporate Members. Next deadline July 15 2012

conservation grants:

Foundation repair of the Denman Island Community Hall New roof for the Cathedral Church of St. Michael & All Angels, Kelowna Roof replacement for Benvoulin Heritage Church, Kelowna Exterior restoration of Queen Margaret’s School Chapel, Duncan Exterior repairs and roof replacement, Carleton School House, Vancouver Roof replacement of First Metropolitan United Church, Victoria Façade restoration of the Japanese Language School building, Vancouver Roof replacement of Newman Farm, Central Saanich Re-roofing of Zion United Church, Armstrong Re-roofing of St. Andrews United Church, Nanaimo heritage awareness grants: outdoor signage

Kamloops Smithers Wosk on Vancouver Island Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine



Win Some... In February, BC Housing announced that 13 provincially-owned single room occupancy (SRO) hotels are to be rehabilitated and restored – all of them over 100 years old. The SRO Renewal Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada, which is contributing $29.1 million, and the provincial government which is putting up $87.3 million with additional funding for a 15-year maintenance agreement. The hotels need structural repairs and updated plumbing and electrical systems. Facades will be restored, preserving their heritage features and the historic character of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “The SRO renewal will improve living conditions for the residents and restore the heritage value of these century old buildings”, said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing. “With about 900 residents, these buildings have an important role in our efforts to help those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness find stability and a safe, clean, affordable home. Restoring these buildings will make sure these properties will continue to fulfill that need.” MARBLE ARCH HOTEL

The Marble Arch and Gastown hotels will be the first to be upgraded. The process is expected to start later this year. A Request for Proposal call was issued in February to select a contractor. BC Housing will work with the successful proponent to determine the schedule for the rollout of the remaining buildings over the next several years.

Lose Some... Heritage Building for Sale $395,000 • MLS #9539 • located in the National Historic District of Powell River Townsite • 100 year old building • Ocean View • 3000 sqft + basement • 5-bdrm 2-bath • Registered Heritage Craftsman home • built by the Powell River Paper Company for the Chief Superintendent • adjoining level, landscaped lot also for sale MLS #9542

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A fire at the historic Grand Forks Hotel in the early hours of March 7, 2012 quickly consumed the building. Built in 1898, it was one of the community’s oldest buildings. Along with another hotel fire at the same time, the blaze was considered to be a case of arson and police soon had a suspect in custody for both incidents. The owner had just completed a number of upgrades to the building, but it was a complete loss. This is the latest in a series of such fires in the past couple of years, several of them the result of arson, that have destroyed historic properties in Interior communities in B.C.


Historic Sites

Who should own them, operate them and pay for them? The devolution of the provincial Heritage Properties that began in 2002 has become something of a saga. What has been learned from the experience? Over several decades, the Government of British Columbia acquired a number of places of historic significance and value. In general, this was a good thing in that these places needed to be protected and conserved. It was also good that they were made accessible and intelligible to the public, British Columbians and visitors alike. They were and remain good for tourism and the economy. They were and are good for us all. But the process of acquiring sites followed no plan or clear purpose. In time, subsequent administrations that had not taken on the historic sites but were stuck with running them at considerable cost came to question if the provincial government should be in the historic site business at all. It was proposed that others with a more entrepreneurial bent and flexible structure could do the job just as well and a lot cheaper. While there was some justification for such notions, it was nonetheless clear to any detached observer that there was a good deal of rationalizing going on.

While historic sites offer business potential that can and should be developed, ultimately they need to be understood as heritage resources held in the public trust, kept and conserved for reasons that are fundamentally different from the profit motive.

The resulting effort to devolve the Heritage Properties RICK GOODACRE over the past ten years has been at least in part a process EXECuTIVE DIRECTOR of coming to accept some basic realities about historic Heritage BC sites. For example, while they can and should be operated in a business-like way, historic sites are not businesses. They were not acquired and are not retained for the primary purpose of turning a profit, i.e., they are not commercial opportunities waiting to be tapped. While historic sites offer business potential that can and should be developed, ultimately they need to be understood as heritage resources held in the public trust, kept and conserved for reasons that are fundamentally different from the profit motive. Properly and carefully managed, historic sites will normally have to be subsidized, regardless of who runs them. Who, then, should manage our historic places? In theory any agency that can satisfy the fundamental goals of conservation, accessibility and interpretation at a reasonable cost should be acceptable. This could be the provincial government, or just as well someone else. In the case of provincial properties, the provincial government can either manage and pay for them directly, or contract out responsibilities. Either way, there is going to be a net cost. In devolving the Heritage Properties, the provincial government appears to have taken quite some time to arrive at and accept this fundamental reality. This takes us back to the basic question: should the provincial government own historic sites at all? Was the acquisition of the Heritage Properties over many decades, in retrospect, a mistake? But if so, what would have been the fate of Barkerville, Kilby Store, or Hat Creek Ranch? The latest funding agreements with site managers suggest that the provincial government has reached a new level of clarity and acceptance concerning the Heritage Properties. But it is unlikely that from here on many new historic sites will be added to the system, regardless of the heritage values involved, given the lessons that have been learned.



A Decade of Devolution: New Funding Signals a New Era

The provincial budget brought down in February included new funding in the amount of $21 million for B.C.’s Heritage Properties. The Heritage Properties are the collection of eleven historic sites – ranging from house museums to entire historic towns – owned by the provincial government. The allocation of millions of dollars to the Properties was not in itself unusual. The government had spent similar amounts over the past couple of years, most of it to fend off one emerging crisis or another. But this latest announcement is different because it is multi-year and the result of an extended campaign by the site managers themselves to resolve long-standing issues about funding for the Properties. The new funds will be divided up more or less equally over each of the next three years, with the allocation for 2012-13 being $7.046 million. About $4 million each year will go toward ongoing operations. Funds are being provided to each site based on business plans provided by the independent site operator. The rest of the money will go to clearing up a backlog of maintenance and conservation. In some respects, this funding decision signals the opening of a new chapter in the process known as the “devolution” of the Heritage Properties which started a decade ago. But in others, it seems to take us back to a pre-devolution state of affairs when the provincial government kept a tighter rein on the management and conservation of the Properties. When the devolution decision was announced in 2002, the Heritage Properties had been around for over 60 years. The first acquisition, the historic home of Dr. Helmcken, now on the grounds of the Royal BC Museum, happened in 1939. Barkerville historic town was next, acquired in the centennial year of 1958. Over time more sites were added, according to no plan and under the rubric of a variety of agencies. By 2002 the Heritage Properties totaled 14 “active” sites – and about as many again that were owned but not open to the public. At the time, the then-new Liberal government was deeply engaged in a “core review” of all government services, looking for ways to cut spending across the board. The Heritage Properties, with an annual net operating cost of $4.5 million, soon became a target. The result was devolution, a plan to turn over the sites to independent operators who would run them more efficiently, bring in more revenue and turn them into self-sufficient enterprises without heavy government subsidization. Most independent observers regarded this as an unlikely scenario and were not surprised when a call for expressions of interest garnered very few responses. Nonetheless, over the next couple of years, all of the Properties were devolved to a wide range of independent managers from non-profits to private businesses, a mental health association, a school district and, in the case of Barkerville, a newly-minted trust created for the purpose. 6

FROM LEFT: Theatre Royal, Barkerville; Hat Creek Ranch; Dining Room, Point Ellice House; Fort Steele; Grist Mill at Keremos; Emily Carr House, Victoria; Cottonwood House

The Heritage Properties

Nonetheless, experience quickly bore out predictions of problems with the devolution model. The new managers, with the best efforts and intentions, were not able to transform these historic sites into self-sufficient operations. With limited government assistance to cover costs, basic maintenance and conservation were deferred to the detriment of historic buildings and collections.

Barkerville Historic Town

Five years into the process, in 2007, a major report commissioned by the provincial government spelled out in graphic terms the state of affairs across the historic site system. Most site managers could not cover operating costs, let alone necessary infrastructure repairs and upgrading, maintenance and conservation. The report identified a need for an immediate investment of several millions of dollars to keep the Properties going and protect them from further decay.

Craigflower Schoolhouse

Meanwhile, despite devolution, the government was obliged to continue pouring millions of dollars into the Properties to cope with failing infrastructure and other emerging issues. The Heritage Properties became not just the squeakiest wheel but the only wheel in the provincial heritage program to get any grease. The Heritage Branch’s community heritage planning program was effectively shut down. Heritage BC’s funding was terminated in 2009. When federal Historic Places Initiative funds dried up at the same time, the provincial heritage program was reduced to a shadow. Heritage BC responded in 2010 with the publication of “A Call to Renew British Columbia’s Heritage Program.” Among five recommended points for action was “resolve the Heritage Properties question” to allow the government to address other urgent issues in the heritage file.

Cottonwood House Craigflower Manor Emily Carr House Fort Steele Town The Grist Mill at Keremeos Hat Creek Ranch Kilby Store and Farm Point Ellice House Historic Yale

The February budget announcement appears to have at last done just that. This is not more emergency, reactive funding – it is a multi-year plan for the operation of the Heritage Properties under the devolution model. While the funding is limited to three years, it is expected that the operational component will become a routine budget line item. Having put in place a workable and realistic operating model for the Heritage Properties, the provincial government needs to turn its attention to the other pressing issues in the heritage file. Heritage BC is working with heritage minister Steve Thomson on a business case for government investment in the Heritage Legacy Fund and Heritage BC. We continue to press for a revival of the Heritage Branch’s community heritage program. Maybe the Call to Renew will finally be answered. 7

S’Gang Gwaay

A Study in Community Involvement This year, UNESCO marks the 40th Anniversary of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The theme of celebrations is “World Heritage and Sustainable Development: The Role of Local Communities in the Management of World Heritage Sites”. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO has asked each province and territory to contribute to the celebrations. Tasked with coming up with an idea for BC’s contribution, we at the Heritage Branch decided on a case study on community involvement in the nomination and management of S’Gang Gwaay World Heritage Site. We saw this as an opportunity not only to showcase and celebrate the communitybased approach to heritage conservation, but also to strengthen relationships between the provincial government, Parks Canada Agency and the Haida Nation. And the results may serve as a case study for other communities. The small island of S’Gang Gwaay is located at the southern tip of Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). The site, which includes an abandoned village, was designated a World Heritage site in 1981. The designation, according to UNESCO World Heritage Centre, “commemorates the living culture of the Haida, based on fishing and hunting, their relationship with the land and sea, and offers a visual key to their oral traditions” S’Gang Gwaay is located within Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. It is jointly managed by Parks Canada and the Haida Nation through the Archipelago Management Board, with the very active participation of the Haida Watchmen Program. The system provides a strong linkage between the historic site and contemporary Aboriginal culture, and is considered by Parks Canada to be “one of the most successful cooperative management arrangements in the world”. With this background, we wanted our study to have significant community involvement. Fortunately, Jason Alsop, a member of the Archipelago Management Board, was an Aboriginal Youth Intern with the Heritage Branch when we put our proposal together. The next step was to take the proposal to the larger community for review and input. Finally, we sought approval from the managing jurisdictions: our minister, the Honourable Steve Thomson, Parks Canada Agency and the Haida Nation through the Archipelago Management Board.


FROM LEFT: poles at former village site; Jason Alsop and Jennifer Iredale at the Haida Heritage Centre; a member of the Watchmen leads a tour

With our proposal warmly received by UNESCO Canada, in February we made an exploratory visit to Haida Gwaii to build relationships face to face and invite community members to tell us their stories. We wanted to reach beyond the perspective of the management agencies, into the broader community. Here some existing contacts were invaluable for introductions to people with connections to S’Gang Gwaay. We met and talked with a lot of people, from both the Haida and non-aboriginal communities: political leaders, Haida elders, Parks Canada staff, Province of BC staff, former Haida watchmen and watchmen in training, the director of the local museum, the Chief Executive Officer of the Haida Heritage Centre (again, Jason Alsop), and local tour operators. Each conversation started with two, open-ended questions: What are your thoughts on community involvement in the nomination of S’Gang Gwaay? What are your thoughts on community involvement in the management of S’Gang Gwaay? Each conversation took a slightly different direction, but some common themes soon emerged which helped us formulate our next questions. In these conversations we were reaching across a number of barriers of geography, culture and history. We learned that the first thing is to build a relationship and establish trust. We used open-ended questions to allow the interviewee to shape the conversation. And we had to keep an open mind. We are now planning our next trip, when we hope to make more contacts and ask some follow-up questions on topics raised in the first round of interviews. We anticipate the project will carry well past the end of the anniversary year as an evolving work in progress. Among the formal outcomes will be a series of articles and conference presentations. It is also our hope that less tangible yet equally rewarding outcomes will include a better understanding and appreciation of S’Gang Gwaay as a vital expression of Haida culture and a great example of community involvement in the stewardship of cultural resources. Jennifer Iredale and Ursula Pfahler, Heritage Branch, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

The Watchmen program began when concerned volunteers started spending summers in areas they believed needed safeguarding. They keep the cultural heritage safe and offer visitors a first-hand introduction to Haida culture. 9

messages Heritage Canada Governor’s Message Never has there been a time when heritage advocates have been needed more than now. Every day we hear of yet another heritage building being threatened with demolition or, what can be worse, completely unsympathetic renovation.

Helen Edwards Heritage CANADA

We think that all our efforts over the past almost 40 years should have produced a sensibility in the general populace, but with each new issue we must face the hard fact that most citizens have no idea of the value of our heritage. Of course, the heritage sector is partly to blame for this, as we tend to be reactionary rather than proactive. But, we always face an uphill battle, being labeled as “building huggers” and other such derogatory terms. It is my belief that we must always stress the “green” nature of preservation. After all, there is much energy consumed in the maintenance and sensitive upgrading of buildings that are already there. How many times have we heard or seen a press report in which the rationale for demolition is that “the building is old and tired.” This begs the question, why is it tired? Being old is not a valid reason for destruction – indeed, it should be a reason for celebration. As Heritage Canada Foundation Governor for BC I have the opportunity to travel and visit locations far from my home in Victoria. With this travel, I have the wonderful opportunity to learn about architectural styles that are not commonly found in our area and to see how preservation differs from region to region. When I walk down the streets of Canada’s cities, I am struck by the regional differences and just how old the buildings are in the eastern portion of our country The common thread that unites the heritage sector is a desire to preserve those things that matter to us as citizens of a street, a city, a province, or a country. What would we be without our heritage buildings, both large and small? They represent the combined hopes and dreams of past generations, many of who came to Canada seeking a new life. From their first modest structures to later more substantial efforts, all must be celebrated and enough examples preserved so that we do, in fact, know where we came from. I encourage all of you to join the Heritage Canada Foundation as members. The fee is modest and you will become part of a national groundswell of like-minded people. The Foundation has just launched an updated website with links to many resources that you might find interesting and of use in a preservation battle. We are building momentum toward a celebration of our 40th anniversary in Ottawa in 2013. I would like to double the number of members in BC. Will you help me? If you wish to contact me for any reason, send a message to heritagelady@gmail.com and I will respond as soon as possible.

Heritage BC


We invite you to visit us and link up your community heritage organizations, attractions and landmarks. Tell us your story!

www.HeritageBCStops.com 10

messages President’s Message People can’t sit still; they need to get involved in something, anything, to stay engaged. Our communities are full of groups gathered around a common theme, task or cause. Frequently there is a triggering event or an emerging trend. A name is chosen and a purpose defined. Often a society is formed and funds raised and the group sets out to achieve its goals. These groups make our communities all the more richer and stronger, and great places to be. We support and learn from each other, and, in the process, build a civil society. Over 30 years ago a group of like-minded BC heritage ERIC PATTISON supporters had such an idea and formed Heritage BC. PRESIDENT Over the decades HBC has been a tremendous success in supporting and encouraging heritage conservation and understanding across the province – not least thanks to the dedicated and long-serving staff, and those willing to do their turn on the board, all while working in concert with the provincial government. From time to time the “heritage winds” have shifted in response to changes in governments, policies and programs, increased interest in cultural tourism, environmental sustainability shaping the repurposing of historic buildings, and economic recession leading to reallocation of scare funds. Heritage BC has weathered these winds of change and continued to deliver effective services to its members and the general public. Just like 30 years ago, current trends in the heritage scene have forced a re-evaluation. Your current directors, staff and key stakeholders have recently been going through a “what if” exercise: who is Heritage BC, what are we here to do, why and for whom? After several months of messy and creative meetings and conversations, a new strategic plan has emerged to take HBC confidently forward. The process has examined the fit between HBC, as the voice for community heritage, the provincial heritage program, and the Heritage Legacy Fund: how visible heritage resources and historic sites are vital to the tourism industry; how heritage initiatives support economic development and job training in conservation and cultural management; how heritage strengthens our community identity and sustainability, fostering a place to stay and raise a family. Through the timely support of the provincial government, Heritage BC: Strategic Plan 2012-2015 is a reality. View or download it online at the Heritage BC website. We welcome your comments. Hopefully our enthusiasm and optimism, our clarity of purpose and action, are evident. We encourage our members and those thinking of taking on a project, or forming a new organization, to do their own “kitchen table” strategic planning sessions. That’s where all that we have accomplished together begins – with an idea and a few like-minded people.

Heritage BC

Board Members Helen Cain Vice President Victoria 250.216.7395 helen.cain@yahoo.ca Helen Edwards, HCF Governor 250.386.6598 heritagelady@gmail.com Larry Foster Past President Kelowna 250.764.8418 lvfoster@shaw.ca Shirley Gratton Director Prince George 250.962.7055 grattons@netbistro.com Zlatan Jankovic Director Vancouver 604.871.6448 zlatan.jankovic@vancouver.ca Donald Luxton Director Vancouver 604.688.1216 donald@donaldluxton.com Eric Pattison President New Westminister 604.525.3232 eric@pattisonarchitecture.ca Bjorn Simonsen Secretary/Treasurer Victoria 250.294.1150 bjorno@shaw.ca

Strategic Plan

Resources, Tourism, Initiatives, Job Training, Cultural Management, Community Identity, Sustainability We welcome your comments!

www.heritagebc.ca 11

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