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LETTER: Heritage restoration not worth the effort

The article on rebuilding the mess that remains of Muirhead House does not report who will pay for it, other than wanting a grant from Victoria taxpayers via a heritage hobby group.

Heritage hobbyists have a habit of expecting to pick taxpayer pockets, while people are being robbed, raped, and murdered in Victoria because police aren’t funded properly.

They also have a habit of grossly underestimating restoration costs. For example, heritage enthusiast estimates for restoring an old house on Mount Douglas Crossroad were a fraction of an estimate by professionals – patching up versus doing a job to preserve for the long term. Often plumbing and electrical wiring are deficient. Owners of the property now hosting the care residence monster at the corner of Admirals Road and Gorge Road West were forced to retain the eight-decades-old store, but it was so rotted they had to demolish it and build an unfaithful replica – even the original sign was not reused.

Heritage hobbyists have a checkered history of over-estimating their ability to operate an old building, as demonstrated by the history of the old schoolhouse by the Craigflower Bridge.

Burdening future generations with ugly inefficient fire traps is not a way to remember builders and producers. Today computing can produce virtual tours, which are more accessible to older generations who might like to see it but are not physically able to climb the narrow stairs of old buildings.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich