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Efforts to save Ma Murray homestead fail

Likely 100-year-old Anmore building will come down
Anmore hall
The 100-year-old former Murray family homestead will likely be demolished to make way for a new civic centre in Anmore. But elements of the building may be incorporated into the new structure.

The 100-year-old Ma Murray homestead in Anmore will likely have to be torn down to make way for a new village civic centre after plans to restore the home of B.C. pioneer Margaret “Ma” Murray fell apart due to differences of opinion on the scope of the project and lack of funding.

Just days before last Sunday’s Ma Murray Days in Anmore, a group calling itself the Anmore Heritage Society announced it would disband after council nixed a plan for renovating the hall and a north wing for a museum and community space.

Group spokesperson Joerge Dyrkton said a smaller project proposed by the village to turn the building into an entryway into the new civic centre rather than a stand-alone facility wouldn’t have met requirements for a Heritage Canada grant and plans couldn’t have been adjusted in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.

“We’re a little bit burned out,” Dyrkton said, explaining that the group had wanted a two-storey building with room for community space as well as a museum honouring the newspapering Murray family.

The original plan proposed by the Anmore Heritage Society called for restoration of the Murray homestead and community space. - CityState Consulting

The group had hoped to get Canada 150 funding but that’s not going to happen now, Dyrkton said. The project was even scaled back to include just the old home and north wing but still couldn’t win council’s support.

Anmore Mayor John McEwen said the group’s proposal was too large in scope and the village wouldn’t have had the resources to operate it, especially after the federal grant required sponsorship.

“They wanted real money,” he said, not just work in kind.

“The hope that we have now is that we could save a lot of the historical components of it and rebuild it in a new structure and replicate the same structure and have the same feel as you walk through a civic centre.”
Some of the heritage fixtures could be saved, he told The Tri-City News, such as the original floor.

“You’d get a great feel of the old building in the new village centre — that’s the vision of council at this point," McEwen said.

Time is also running out on the new hall, which he said will likely have to be knocked down because it is unsafe and infested with rodents, and planning for the new civic centre needs to move ahead.
Council’s decision doesn’t sit well with Dyrkton, who said he thinks it means heritage isn’t respected in the village.

“There’s nothing left of heritage value. We lose a sense of identity. We lose a sense of space, we lose  a sense of Ma Murray and the newspapering Murrays.”