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Can this adorable Coquitlam heritage home be saved?

Coquitlam is changing. Is it important to save these older houses?

What happens when an adorable home with heritage potential gets bought for real estate development?

That's a question some Coquitlam residents are asking after a 77-year-old Tudor style home with a distinctive roof line was recently sold in southwest Coquitlam for $1.4 million.

With its unusual roof, shingles and diamond-paned windows, this home built in 1945 looks like something out of a fairy tale — or even Shakespeare's time.

According to the BC Assessment Authority, the home was assessed $1.35 million last year.

On the Coquitlam Community Facebook page, numerous people weighed in on the fate of a house located at 237 Hart St., which sits on a large, 7,400 sq-ft. lot even though the tiny home is only 814 sq. ft. in size.

"Hope they keep the heritage of this house and not tear it down! It was just sold," noted a poster on the social media group.

Here's how this heritage home could be saved

The home sits on property that is zoned RT-1, which means up to three homes could be built on the lot, as part of a neighbourhood infill opportunity established by Coquitlam through its Housing Choices program.

However, according to the city's planning department, it's quite likely the building could be saved as part of a development package.

As yet, there is no development application for the property, but the home deserves to be protected, development planning manager Chris McBeath told the Tri-City News.

"The home is identified on the City’s Southwest Heritage Inventory as having heritage potential, and staff would aim to have the home preserved with any future redevelopment of the property," McBeath said.

"The current RT-1 zoning would allow up to three units to be constructed on the lot, although certain relaxations [such as additional units] could be considered if the home is protected and retained as part of the redevelopment through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement or 'HRA.'"

Keep heritage in mind when building new homes

As well, trees would be assessed as part of any future redevelopment, and the possibility of retaining them would be reviewed as part of such an application.

This should answer the questions of Coquitlam's online community in that knocking down a heritage home is not always the first choice of action.

For example, in 2019, the city signed its first Heritage Revitalization Agreement to save the 1913 Bédard home in Laval Square, according to a report in the Tri-City News.

Since then, multiple applications to save older homes as part of larger developments have come before the city, particularly in southwest Coquitlam, where a building renaissance is taking place in one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods.

The neighbourhood is so steeped in heritage — thanks in part to the arrival of mill workers from Québec — that even a new tower being built on Lougheed Highway has a facade designed to represent the colour of logs.