Fernwood home with heritage value facing wrecking ball

A beloved house in the heart of Fernwood is facing the wrecking ball, despite public outcry from local residents.

A beloved house in the heart of Fernwood is facing the wrecking ball, despite public outcry from local residents who say the home has heritage value.

Last week, more than a dozen residents showed up to voice their concerns to Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe and city staff during a townhall meeting about the condition of the home at 2018 Stanley Ave.

For the last six months, the home has become an eyesore for neighbours. The new owner acquired the property earlier this year and tore part of the roof off, exposing the inside of the home to rain and destroying its original 1912 arts and craft California bungalow-style features.

Roofing material, bags of insulation from the attic and scaffolding litter the front yard. Most recently, graffiti vandals found their way onto the property, tagging the front of the home.

Residents have rallied behind the home that they believe has heritage value.

Chris Grieve, who lives next door to the property, started the Facebook group Save 2018 Stanley Ave and went door-to-door informing neighbours of the situation.

Despite efforts to salvage the house or have it relocated, the owner recently acquired a demolition permit, allowing him to tear down the current structure and rebuild a new single-family home.

According to Jonathan Tinney, director of sustainable planning and community development with the city, the owner has three to six months to demolish the house one he’s received the permit.

Because the home is not on the heritage registry, the city’s hands are tied and can only enforce bylaws around the maintenance of the building and clean-up of graffiti.

“The best situation in this case is to have him clean up the property immediately and encourage him to move forward with the demolition as soon as possible,” said Tinney, adding many of residents’ concerns focus on the current condition of the home. “We are keeping track of this file.”

While it’s too late to save this house, residents hope there can be changes made to city bylaws to ensure this doesn’t happen to other residents and homes with heritage value.

“If we’re going to lose this house, it can’t be in vain. The city has to have some tools so they can’t just say ‘our hands are tied’,” Grieve said. “When the house is gone, the issue isn’t going away.”

Grieve said he hopes to form a committee with other concerned residents and write to city council about bylaw amendments.