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Coquitlam heritage home faces the wrecking ball

Coquitlam council OKs temporary protection for a house on Cartier Avenue in Maillardville that was built in the early 1900s

The clock is ticking on a Maillardville heritage home that could soon be facing the wrecking ball.

At its meeting Monday — held with most council members participating electronically from home — Coquitlam council approved a temporary protection order for 1125 Cartier Ave. that prohibits any alterations to the property, including demolition, for the next 60 days. The city is hoping to use the additional time to come to an agreement with the owner that could preserve the structure near Laval Square that staff said has significant heritage value. 

“Let’s press pause,” Mayor Richard Stewart said Monday. “Let’s try and figure this out. This house is worth saving.”

The property went up for sale earlier this year and staff have met with the owner and potential purchasers several times since it was listed. The city is encouraging the use of a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA), which creates density incentives for developers that preserve historically significant structures.

But so far, the owners have been reluctant to pursue an HRA and, on Feb. 28, they sought a demolition permit for the home. 

“It would appear that the certainty of a site clear of heritage implications is considered more desirable for the owner and/or potential purchasers to redevelop,” staff said in a report to council. 

Current zoning permits the construction of a new single-family home with secondary and backyard suites, or a duplex. But the staff report said if the applicant were to pursue an HRA, additional density could be allowed.

Still, getting an agreement could be difficult, particularly given the size constraints of the 6,300-sq. ft. site, said Coun. Craig Hodge.

“I am really concerned that at this point, the potential buyers have looked at this property and are having trouble making the HRA work,” he said.

The Cartier Avenue home was listed as a historically significant structure in the city’s 1986 Maillardville Heritage Inventory. Of the 75 buildings included in the inventory, only 29 still exist. 

The exact age of the home is unclear. The staff report said archival construction dates suggest it was built between 1910 and 1930 while personal testimony included in the Maillardville Heritage Inventory said it was built in 1917, during the First World War.

“The home itself has been repurposed over time, functioning as a former rooming house,” said the staff report. “Other known alterations include the application of stucco over the original shingle siding, along with alterations to the roof fascia.”