Opinion: Retaining our character and heritage homes must be a priority (Elizabeth Murphy, Special to Vancouver Sun)

Shaughnessy mansionFurther below we provide an excerpt and link to a September 14 op ed in the Vancouver Sun by Elizabeth Murphy. But first, a notice…

Public Hearing on the establishment of a Heritage Conservation Area in First Shaughnessy
Tuesday, September 15, 2015, starting at 6 pm
Vancouver City Hall, Council Chamber, 453 West 12th Avenue, 3rd Floor
Agenda and documents: http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150721/phea20150721ag.htm

To register to speak, send an email to publichearing@vancouver.ca or call 604-829-4238
If you are unable to attend, you can send your comments to mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.

According to the Character House Network, this proposal is not only about First Shaughnessy. It will introduce a much-needed tool for heritage retention throughout the city. There are already 70 Heritage Conservation Areas in BC, yet Vancouver, which demolishes more than 1,000 homes per year, has none.

Also read, Vancouver Observerhttp://www.vancouverobserver.com/opinion/top-10-reasons-why-first-shaughnessy-should-be-declared-heritage-area


Opinion: Retaining our character and heritage homes must be a priority
(by Elizabeth Murphy, Special to The Vancouver Sun September 14, 2015).


Elizabeth Murphy believes that Vancouver needs a balance of incentives to encourage retention that is fair to homeowners, so that home like the Walkem house can be preserved.

To their credit, the city of Vancouver has been working on a heritage action plan. Although Shaughnessy has a moratorium on demolitions until a heritage conservation area is established, character houses continue to be demolished at a record rate across the city. It is critical that measures are put in place soon to protect heritage and character homes before this important housing stock is further depleted.

However, the devil is in the details. We need a balance of incentives to encourage retention that is fair to homeowners. There are ways this can be done. The city has many tools it can use, but the city also needs support from senior governments.

In addition to enhancing neighbourhood character and livability, retention of character and heritage homes aligns with the city’s stated goals of sustainability, affordability and family housing.

The best way to divert waste from the landfill is to adaptively reuse buildings. Less new material is used for a renovation than for new development. It therefore has a much lower environmental footprint.

[The article goes on to cover affordability, family housing, zoning review, and federal incentives. For the full text please visit the Vancouver Sun.]


Elizabeth Murphy is a private sector project manager and was formerly a Property Development Officer for the City of Vancouver’s Housing & Properties Department and for BC Housing. info@elizabethmurphy.caHeritage House. On Registry?

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