Another heritage home in West Vancouver appears destined for demolition.
District of West Vancouver council voted unanimously Monday night to put a 60-day stay of execution on the McDowell Residence at 466 Hillcrest St. in hopes they can persuade the owner to save it.
The district staff report contains little info on why the West Bay home may be of heritage value but it is listed as a “support” building on the district’s survey of significant architecture (1945-1975), meaning it merits more research.
Council has had some success in negotiating heritage revitalization agreements with owners of architecturally significant or historic homes to restore and give them permanent legal heritage protection, usually in exchange for allowing subdivision of the property or extra density.
But, more frequently, council’s temporary protection orders lapse without any agreement.
“By the time somebody applies for a demo permit, they've already got another house in mind,” lamented Coun. Nora Gambioli. “We're so far behind the eight ball.”
District staff say they’ve tried to contact the owners of the McDowell residence twice but not yet had any interest in a possible HRA.
The district has recently hired a new planner who will specialize in heritage. Gambioli suggested that staff member work with real-estate agents who specialize in “selling architecture, instead of just selling real estate” to contact the owners of heritage houses and West Coast Modern homes before it’s too late.
“We really need to get way ahead of this, like years ahead of this sort of circumstance that we find ourselves in all the time,” she said.