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Heritage home to be saved

One of the oldest homes in Coquitlam built by French-Canadian pioneers is about to be saved thanks to a hometown developer. This week, Coquitlam resident Harry Parmar of Haraman Development Inc.

One of the oldest homes in Coquitlam built by French-Canadian pioneers is about to be saved thanks to a hometown developer.

This week, Coquitlam resident Harry Parmar of Haraman Development Inc. showed his plans to the city's land use committee to restore the Paré residence at 307 Begin St., in Maillardville. The project would be his company's first.

Parmar's proposal includes moving the Laval Square home to a new foundation at the corner of Begin Street and Cartier Avenue and building seven townhouses on the lot - in the restored home and in an adjacent building.

On Monday, the committee granted first reading of a heritage revitalization agreement (HRA), allowing the application to proceed to next week's city council meeting. If endorsed after a public hearing next month, an HRA would be registered on the building's title.

Parmar told the committee he plans to restore the dilapidated and vacant home to its original style and salvage many of its 100-year-old materials, including the wood siding and columns, veranda beams and a stained-glass window "to further add to the heritage value."

Consultants have tested the materials, which can be recycled for the redevelopment, Parmar said.

"We are very excited to save a significant heritage structure," Raul Allueva, Coquitlam's manager of development services, told the committee.

Built in 1910, the Paré house was owned by Vitalien Paré, a Fraser Mills worker whose brother, Emeri, was Coquitlam's first police and fire chief.

According to heritage expert Donald Luxton, who was hired by Parmar to study the proposed restoration, the Paré residence was home to Vitalien, his wife Alma (née Bédard), their four children, Donat Paré, Hiliare Paré and Philip Bédard.

Vic Paré moved his family from Quebec to Maillardville in 1910 and worked as a millwright at Fraser Mills, once the largest sawmill in the world. They were in good company, with 31 relatives travelling to Maillardville in its early days, earning the area the nickname of Paréville.

Last month, concerned about an old silver birch that had been cut at 307 Begin St. to make way for the townhome project, the Como Watershed Group approached Parmar to see if it could take the wood for a future public art project.

Meanwhile, the city's land use committee chair, Coun. Mae Reid, said she would like to see part of the city's heritage trees salvaged and planted elsewhere. "That's how we got Riverview Hospital," she said, referring to its mature horticultural collection.

The Paré house isn't the first Maillardville home slated for restoration. In March, architect Matthew Cheng said Guang Xin Development Ltd. plans to renew the Red House on Brunette Avenue, across from Place des Arts, as part of a multi-family development. That 100-year-old house, which was originally on Begin Street, was owned by Tom Allard. That proposal has yet to come before council for consideration.

jwarren@tricitynews.com