Ioco report urges better protection for heritage buildings

Port Moody is hoping a new report on the condition of buildings at the Ioco townsite will spur property owners Imperial Oil and Brilliant Circle Group to ensure they are better preserved.

The Donald Luxton & Associates report details visual inspections of the 13 remaining buildings — the Ioco Grocery Store, Ioco Hall and 11 residences — and recommends steps for stabilizing and mothballing them according to the National Park Service's guidelines for historic buildings. It comes nearly a year after members of the Port Moody Heritage Society expressed concern that little had been done to ensure the property owners complied with the city's 2002 bylaw stipulating maintenance responsibilities for the site as a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA).

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Luxton's report outlines several preventative maintenance measures that should be undertaken to lay the groundwork for future conservation work, as well as some areas where remedial stabilization is required to ensure further deterioration is mitigated.

"The best method for ensuring that the 13 buildings within the Ioco Townsite are brought into compliance with Port Moody's Heritage Maintenance Standards bylaw…without undertaking restoration or rehabilitation work is to mothball the structures," the report states.

Both the Ioco Grocery Store and the Ioco Hall have incurred damage from overgrown trees and plants that are breaking through the exterior siding, as well as associated drainage issues. The interiors show areas of water damage and, in the case of the grocery store, some fire damage in certain areas.

The report also notes that the current tarp system on the grocery store roof are not suitable and should be replaced with a stronger temporary roof covering that does not damage the existing roof; the Ioco Hall roof hasn't been covered and "heavy organic buildup" is present on the asphalt shingles, which are in poor condition.

"The fascia is missing or damaged in several locations, and most if not all of the downspouts are disconnected from the gutters," it states of the hall; the grocery store also requires gutter repairs.

The residential buildings were found to be suffering from similar issues and are in need of landscape pruning, utilities shut-off, fencing, foundation and structure inpsections and interior monitoring for moisture. The report also provides detailed weekly, seasonal and five- and 10-year maintenance checklists.

"The report is quite thorough," said Jim Millar, executive director of the Port Moody Station Museum, though he raised concerns about how the ongoing sale of part of the Ioco townsite to Brilliant Circle will affect the maintenance responsibilities.

James Stiver, general manager of development services, said the report has been sent to Imperial Oil and Brilliant Circle with a 30-day response timeline.

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