Residents propose changes to prevent demolition of character homes

A group of Fernwood residents are fed up with the demolition of character homes and have come up a proposal to prevent it from happening.

A group of Fernwood residents are fed up with the demolition of character homes and have come up a proposal they hope will prevent it from happening in the future.

Residents have come up with two bylaw amendments to increase the governance and protection around character homes not on the City of Victoria’s heritage registry.

As part of the proposal, the group is calling for a minimum standard of upkeep to protect a home from weather, to eliminate instances of intentional neglect, and deter property owners from demolishing character homes and sending high-value, non-renewable building materials to the landfill.

The proposal comes in response to a home facing the wrecking ball at 2018 Stanley Ave. in Fernwood. New owners acquired the property last year and tore off part of the roof, exposing the inside of the home to rain and destroying its original 1912 arts and craft California bungalow-style features.

It also became an eyesore for neighbours. Roofing material, bags of insulation from the attic and scaffolding littered the front yard. Graffiti vandals found their way onto the property, tagging the front of the home as well.

Chris Grieve, a Fernwood resident, said the group is not anti-development, but wants to prevent character homes from being needlessly torn town.

“It started with this one house, but this is happening on all streets in the city. Part of the appeal of living in Victoria is our heritage neighbourhoods and they’re irreplaceable once they come down,” Grieve said. “There should be some sort of protection such that they’re not needlessly torn down.”

The demolition of character homes is also an issue in Vancouver. Over the past few years, many older, character homes have been demolished and replaced with modern, multi-million dollar houses —  slowly phasing out affordable housing. A group called Vancouver Vanishing has sprung up in response to this.

Grieve hopes the proposal will help jumpstart the conversation and encourage the city to implement changes before the trend makes its way to Victoria.

“Victoria is in a position where we’re not quite in the same dire straits yet, but I think we can foresee that coming,” he said, adding there has been a 140 per cent increase in demolition permits for single-family and duplex homes approved by the city between 2014 and 2015.

“That shows there’s a trend there and I think Victoria is not immune to similar Vancouver market forces. There’s no time like the present for us because at some point we’ll be past the tipping point.”

Coun. Pamela Madoff brought the issue to council’s attention earlier this week.

“It’s more about the dirt than it is about the dwelling and that’s what we’re concerned about,” said Madoff, adding she’d like to see incentives that discourages demolition and encourage the retention of homes. “It’s seen as an opportunity to just clear the lot and start all over. From an environmental point of view, that makes no sense and from a community point of view, that makes no sense . . . it’s something we really need to deal with.”

Grieve hopes to present the proposal to city council by the end of May. The group is also in the process of gathering support from heritage advocates, land use committees and community associations.

It has also started an online petition to preserve character homes. For more information visit change.org/p/protect-victoria-s-character-homes.

 

 

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

Just Posted

A video captured by Twitter user Teddy Jenner of a fire in Beacon Hill Park the night of Jan. 21, 2021. (Twitter/@OfftheCrosseBar)
Victoria police say no injuries after tent fire in Beacon Hill Park

Emergency crews responded to fire Thursday evening

(Black Press Media file photo)
Bylaw officers called to Saanich park for COVID-19 protocol violations on pickleball court

Raquet sport players reminded to avoid doubles play amid pandemic

Victoria police say a missing teen has been located safe. (Black Press Media file photo)
Missing teen located safe: Victoria police

Missing person alert ended for high-risk missing 14-year-old

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Central Saanich installed a temporary portable along Lochside Trail near Michell’s Farm Market and remains in discussion with the Capital Regional District about finding what Mayor Ryan Windsor called a ‘permanent solution’ to ensuring washroom access at the popular location. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Central Saanich in talks with CRD about ‘permanent’ washroom facility near Lochside Trail

The municipality installed a temporary portable washroom near Michell’s Farm Market last week

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

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

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read