A unique heritage home in Sardis faces the wrecking ball as part of a rezoning application headed to public hearing at Chilliwack city council Tuesday evening.
But no member of the public nor any member of city council might even know about the history of the 107-year-old turquoise clapboard Pearson House on Maitland Avenue if all they read is the staff report prepared for the April 4 meeting.
The 1911 home at 7158 Maitland Ave. is one of four properties part of an application by Richlane Ventures Inc. to rezone from one family residential and small lot one family residential to townhouse multi-family residential to allow for approximately 30 units.
The applicant has provided no concept plan, but the rezoning fits with the Official Community Plan’s objective for increasing density and “the proposed rezoning is consistent with the transitional nature of the neighbourhood as a number of rezoning applications have been completed to accommodate low density residential development (small lot infill) within the area,” according to the staff report council will consider at the April 3 meeting.
But the unique home, which is on the 1991 Heritage Inventory, is something that should be saved, according to Laura Reid with Heritage Chilliwack.
Pearson House, at 7158 Maitland Ave., was built in 1911 and is on the 1991 Heritage Inventory. A concerned neighbour alerted us to the rezoning application. The fate of this heritage home is unknown. If… https://t.co/Ni3brb1PGe
— Heritage Chilliwack (@Heritagechwk) March 30, 2018
“It’s disappointing that the City of Chilliwack still has not appointed a heritage commission to assist them making informed decisions when a heritage home or building is involved in development plans,” Reid told The Progress in advance of the public hearing Tuesday after hearing of the proposal.
“There are alternatives to demolition including incorporating the heritage home into the new development or moving it to another site. Demolition of our heritage resources should not be encouraged as a first option.”
Nowhere in the staff report as part of the city council agenda is there any mention of the heritage nature of the property in question.
“It is anticipated that the proposed development will not significantly alter the appearance of the neighbourhood as the R4-A Zone has a maximum height of 7.5 metres and is likely to integrate well within the existing single-family neighbourhood,” according to the staff report. “The proposed rezoning will facilitate future development that is consistent with the OCP’s objective to provide an increase in density and allow for a mix of affordable housing options, while maintaining the low density character of the neighbourhood. “
Other properties part of the proposal include 7136, 7146 Maitland Ave. and 45540 Wells Rd. The latter property borders on the Souther Rail line, which will require a supplementary setback of 15 metres.
A small movement of neighbours and heritage lovers opposed to the demolition of the home at 7158 Maitland Ave. used social media to encourage people to come out to the public hearing April 3 at 7 p.m. to speak about the development.