The City of Vancouver is using a new tool to protect some of its oldest properties. A heritage inspection has been ordered for a Tudor-style home on the city’s west side.
Heritage inspections are a new tool the City has for protecting heritage and character properties in the city. It’s part of the Heritage Procedure by-law that was passed by Council in September.
This is the first time a heritage inspection has been ordered. The inspection will evaluate the home’s heritage value and character to determine whether or not it merits heritage conservation.
The house, located at 1550 West 29th, was designed by architects Fred Townley and Robert Matheson, the same architects who designed city hall.
The house was originally constructed as a show home by the Electrical Services League of BC as a show home to demonstrate to the public the convenience of modern electricity.
Most houses at the time only had 20 electrical outlets, this one was outfitted with 170.
It also features closets where the lights turn on automatically when opened, a central control panel to select lighting throughout the house, and exterior ground lights.
The property, which was listed for $7.4 million, has been taken off the market. Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city intervened when a demolition permit was requested.
While the inspection is taking place, the home is subject to temporary heritage protection, and can’t be demolished, altered, or damaged.
Caroline Adderson is the curator of the Vancouver Vanishes Facebook page, which catalogs and photographs original character homes, particularly on the west-side of Vancouver that have been demolished since 2013.
She’s been keeping track of the demolition status of this house since March.
She’s excited about the decision to order an inspection, and says a heritage designation would be good for the neighborhood, and good for the property owner
“They would be able to receive all kinds of benefits that are offered with a heritage revitalization agreement. That would give the owner the opportunity, if he or she preserves the house, to have extra infill and to do all kinds of different things the zoning doesn’t normally permit…What they have is something very precious, and getting it on the register would formally recognize that.”
She adds that saving character homes is important, but the city needs to be doing more than saving individual houses from demolition.
“I think they have to save neighborhoods now. They need to start looking at preserving the original housing stock in entire neighborhoods.”
The results of the inspection, along with recommendations for next steps will be presented to Council on May 31