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1926 Craftsman bungalow in Ambleside faces demolition

Nesbitt House on Clyde Avenue built by a pioneer Blue Bus driver, next to dairy farm established by his settler parents
1281 Clyde Ave web
The 1926 Nesbitt House at 1281 Clyde Ave. in West Vancouver may soon be demolished. Council voted Jan. 24, 2021 for a temporary halt on demolition.

It’s been a feature in Ambleside for 94 years, but it’s only got about two months left.

District of West Vancouver council voted Monday (Jan. 24) to deny a demolition permit for the 1926 Nesbitt House at 1281 Clyde Ave. – but the denial can only last for 60 days.

According to the district staff report, the modest Craftsman bungalow was built by Harry Nesbitt, one of the first Blue Bus drivers for West Vancouver, right next to the dairy farm established by his early settler parents, John and Emily Nesbitt, in 1912.

It had an addition put on in 1982 but the original unpainted cedar shingle cladding is still on the exterior.

It’s one of 171 properties with historical or architectural value put on the district's Community Heritage Register in 2008. In recent years, when one of those buildings is up for redevelopment, council has used temporary protection orders to buy time for district staff to negotiate with the owner to keep the heritage building. That process usually takes the form of a heritage revitalization agreement, which allows the owner extra density or subdivision of a lot in exchange for the home's restoration and permanent protection.

The structure straddles two lots. The owner has now applied to demolish the original home and build new houses for each lot.

“Staff have provided the owner with information regarding heritage value of the existing house building and potential incentives available in exchange for heritage retention. Staff wish to delay issuance of the permit in order to allow more time to discuss retention options with the owner,” a report to council states.

Council voted the 60-day stay through without any discussion.

Since 2016, council has approved 13 temporary orders of protection for various heritage buildings across the district. Of the 13 properties, nine buildings have been demolished to date.