Oak Bay takes big step towards Heritage Conservation Area

Oak Bay takes big step towards Heritage Conservation Area

Year long protection applied to Prospect conservation area

The rental house slated for renovation at 1558 Beach Dr. was given an additional year of protection as Oak Bay council voted in a temporary bylaw for the entirety of the Prospect neighbourhood Heritage Conservation Area on Monday night.

This includes the 1912-built home at 1558 Beach Dr., which is already part way through a 60-day protection council placed on it in early September. Abstract Developments had purchased the home, which has seven rental units, and recently applied to Oak Bay for a demolition permit. However, plans for the building’s re-design aren’t final and the demolition permit was only made in anticipation of the coming Heritage Conservation Area designation, said Abstract spokesperson Brandon Williams. At this point, the company only knows it will repurpose the building. In the meantime they also served eviction notices in August (to most tenants), citing the need for proper asbestos removal ahead of renovations.

The proposed Prospect Heritage Conservation Area boundaries. The dashed line identifies Glenlyon Norfolk School campus with its three heritage designated buildings on the original Rattenbury estate. (Oakbay.ca)

And despite the fact some tenants have already vacated, the future of the proposed development is in question as the house falls under the new year-long Heritage Conservation Area control period, which council voted unanimously for on Monday. The temporary order offers protection equal to a heritage designation for all buildings and properties within the entire proposed Prospect Neighbourhood Heritage Conservation Area.

Abstract Developments’s director of development Adam Cooper said they understand and appreciate the Heritage Conservation Area control period and are considering other options.

READ MORE: Oak Bay grants 60 days of protection for century old mansion

READ MORE: Creating Oak Bay’s proposed Prospect heritage conservation area

“Since initially formalizing an application to develop the property at 1558 Beach Dr., we have been contacted by the District and are currently in discussion with planning staff to explore other options for the development of this property,” Cooper said. “At this point, we remain open-minded in these discussions and are cautiously optimistic about the possibility of finding an alternative to the current zoning allowances.”

Albeit it temporary the control period is a bylaw unto itself and the director of Building and Planning, Bruce Anderson, said it will take staff three or four months to bring it before council (who can then approve it in two meetings).

The council agenda on Monday included a specific item for 1558 Beach Dr., so council could consider forcing a heritage designation on the property. However, it was made redundant as 1558 Beach Dr. falls within the Prospect neighbourhood.

“The hope is that the owner will come forward with an option other than removing the building,” Mayor Kevin Murdoch said. “We can force them to [to retain the building], but for the community and landowner to get a positive outcome, you want to compromise, not use legal tools. The hope here is to find a path forward for that land and ideally that will include some rentals.”

READ MORE: Historic Annandale carriage house to be moved, restored as rental property

A group of current and former tenants that represented four of the seven suites were at council, including two parties who no longer live there. Stephanie Long and her partner relocated to the Gorge. Paul Ziakin moved to Vic West.

Others, such as couple Eric Mignot and Alice Cartier, will stay until their lease runs out in May 2020, and the subsequent four-month eviction notice after that.

“We expect to get the eviction notice in May, which takes us into September,” said Eric Mignot, whose partner Alice Cartier works from their suite. “She needs to focus and it’s a quiet place. Why would we leave?”

Another tenant who attended is appealing the eviction, she said.

As Coun. Andrew Appleton said Monday night, 1558 “doesn’t conform to anything, it’s an oddball in its current form and use.”

The fact council is considering protecting rental units is an unexpected side issue and will not factor in the Heritage Conservation Area, which Oak Bay has sought to create for years. The purpose of a Heritage Conservation Area bylaw is to identify and protect houses from being torn down, and also the ambience, landscaping and other historical things such as rural lane ways and stone walls.

“It’s two different pieces, although the [evictions] triggered that the development is happening,” Murdoch added. “Basically, we want the Heritage Conservation Area to be completed before development applications come through.”

Local heritage advocates recently submitted a petition with 500 names on it and supported the 60-day protection order in place.

Understanding the Heritage Conservation Area

  • The proposed Prospect neighbourhood Heritage Conservation Area is bounded by Oak Bay Avenue, Beach Drive, Prospect Place, San Carlos Place and York Place.
  • It will be Oak Bay’s first Heritage Conservation Area with about about 60 already in place around B.C. including several in Victoria.
  • The Prospect neighbourhood has 11 of the first 30 designated heritage homes in Oak Bay, such as Annandale on York Place. The existing Annandale house was designed by architect John Gerhard Tiarks, who was a partner with Francis Rattenbury, and built in 1898 for Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, second son of Sir Charles Tupper.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

A cyclist navigates the shoulder in traffic along Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria. (John Luton Photo)
Oak Bay council supports Fort Street bike lanes

Victoria bike lanes would connect to Cadboro Bay Road

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read