Heritage consultant Stuart Stark offers a fascinating, and oft-times humourous take on the value of the proposed Prospect Heritage Conservation Area in Oak Bay.
“This is a spectacular neighbourhood with a past that’s rife with intrigue, historical milestones and gossip,” said Stark with a chuckle. “I try to employ a fun approach to the whole thing…capturing the imagination of people is really the best way of demonstrating the value of the neighbourhood and why it’s important to preserve what we have here.”
Stark speaks of the tennis courts that used to grace the grounds of the Rattenbury house, the private mosaic swimming pool (sometimes used for charity events), and the greenhouse/aviary that took up an entire city block.
He will also explain the significance of the carriage houses and coach house that epitomized the shift from horses and buggies to the first motorcars and what that shift meant to the character of Victoria.
If the heritage group is successful, the area bordered by York Place, San Carlos Avenue, a portion of Beach Drive and Oak Bay Avenue and including Prospect Place, Broom Road and the shoreline of Rattenbury’s Beach and Haynes Park would be the first HCA in Oak Bay.
“We’re in the process of drafting a ‘statement of significance’ as one of the first steps to achieving the designation,” explained Michael Prince, one of the primary organizers of the event.
“This area is more than just a bunch of old buildings, its a part of the city’s past, the people who made Oak Bay the unique place it is today. That’s worth preserving,” said Prince.