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Draft plan recommends maintenance plan for Riverview in Coquitlam

A draft heritage conservation plan for Riveview is now available for public comment. - Photo Courtesy Riverview Historical Society
A draft heritage conservation plan for Riveview is now available for public comment.
— image credit: Photo Courtesy Riverview Historical Society

A draft Riverview Heritage Conservation Plan made available to the public this week is recommending a maintenance and stabilization plan be developed to prevent Riverview buildings from deteriorating.

The extensive document released online — and soon to be made available at Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam libraries and city halls — lists several strategies for maintaining the character of the Riverview lands, including keeping the campus-like feel of the 244-acre property, maintaining buildings and preserving landscaped and natural areas.

While not ruling out redevelopment, the report prepared by consultants Denise Cook Design, recommends the property's character-defining elements be detailed and taken into consideration when change is contemplated.

Craig Hodge, a Coquitlam councillor and chair of the Riverview Lands Advisory Committee, said the report acknowledges the heritage attributes of the site but fails to recognize its importance to the region.

"Essondale was a city within our city," Hodge said, "I don't think it recognizes the role it played in Coquitlam."

Still, he praised the report for recognizing the importance of maintaining buildings on the site, some of which have already suffered from plant encroachment and water damage, and for recognizing the property as a whole has value.

"It does acknowledge one of my main concerns: It recognizes that if we don't do something, these buildings could fall into disrepair," Hodge said.

At that point, they may cease to have any heritage or re-use value, he noted, adding that while managed decline, where a building is allowed to deteriorate into a historical ruin, worked for the Stonehenge, it's not appropriate for Riverview, which continues to have historic significance locally and provincially.

Hodge said he was also impressed with the number of people who participated in the draft heritage conservation plan process, including 195 people who showed up to four heritage workshops, 52 stakeholders who were interviewed and 702 questionnaires that were filled out.

But he's concerned further delays to the development of a land-use plan will result in further deterioration of buildings unless work is done immediately. The buildings still need to be heated, the roofs repaired and the site secured to preserve the property in the short term, he said, noting that the draft plan makes similar recommendations.

Hodge said he plans to ask Minister of Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman, who is also minister of housing, whether a full maintenance plan will be introduced for Riverview. Hodge had a meeting scheduled with the minister on Tuesday during a break in the annual gathering of the Union of BC Municipalities convention.

Annual costs for maintaining Riverview Hospital lands and buildings could be as much as $4 million, according to Shared Services BC.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

OPEN HOUSES

Open houses are scheduled to give the public an opportunity for feedback on the draft Riverview Heritage Conservation Plan. They are:

• Monday, Oct. 1, 4 to 8 p.m., at the Gathering Place — Living Room, 1100-2253 Leigh Square Pl., Port Coquitlam;

• Tuesday, Oct. 2, 4 to 8 p.m., at the Centennial Pavilion, Centennial Room, 620 Poirier St., Coquitlam.

To view the draft plan online, visit here. Input can also be emailed to riverview@gov.bc.ca.

 

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