The old Ray Carman barn on Chilliwack Mountain Road, photographed as part of a heritage project by architectural photographer Carsten Arnold. The barn’s current condition is deteriorating but they will attempt to recycle it ahead of redevelopment. (Carsten Arnold photo)

Old barn will be recycled for redevelopment on Chilliwack Mountain Road

Owners say they won’t disturb the mountain and there will be no blasting

Many locals are used to passing the big old barn along Chilliwack Mountain Road.

Part of the old cow barn built by former owner Ray Carman, will be recycled as part of a redevelopment plan for 8395 Chilliwack Mountain Road, say current owners, Brian Janssens, and Sylvie Roussel-Janssens, who purchased the property five years ago.

“Unfortunately, this building needed a new roof some 25 years ago and is now showing signs of falling over,” said Brian Janssens, in a message to The Progress, after the rezoning was approved on Tuesday night.

“Our plan is to continue living in this beautiful location and redevelop the property.”

The ancient beech tree on the site will be saved.

“By using precast concrete we hope to turn this property into another eye-pleasing site,” wrote Janssens, who also owns LSC Pre-Cast Systems, nearby on Lickman Road.

The bottom section of the Chilliwack Mountain property will be redeveloped.

“Why we are asking for CD-14, which is industrial, commercial and residential, is we love the property, and we love living there, and it’s the perfect south-facing view,” said Janssens at the outset of the public hearing on April 2.

They want to construct industrial/commercial buildings for lease, and a new residence behind the existing one, instead of the townhouse plan they once contemplated.

“We are not going to disturb the mountain. We have no intentions of blasting. We have no intention of rock-chipping for weeks on end,” Janssens told council. “We’d like to clean up the area and develop the lowland itself and blend it in with the area around it, and not put in townhouses.”

The goal is to redevelop the whole property “to facilitate future industrial uses and retain the undevelopable portions in a natural state,” according to a City of Chilliwack staff report.

The application for the Official Community Plan designation was to go from “Comprehensive Development Area” to “General Industrial” and rezoning the property from a SCR (Suburban Clustered Residential) Zone to a CD-14 (Comprehensive Development) Zone, and a RSVl-rem (Limited Use Reserve-Remnant) Zone for the north section.

Since it’s in Development Permit Area 2 (Hillside and Upland Areas), it was recommended and approved to hold the application at third reading pending council approval of a Development Permit (DP) to address environmental and geotechnical issues.

At the public hearing Coun. Chris Kloot asked about the number of rental units planned for the site, and parking.

“We are planning on having up to 13 industrial, commercial, light warehouse or manufacturing businesses on the property,” Janssens said, adding that “parking will not be an issue.”

Mayor Ken Popove called the mixed-use redevelopment proposal “a unique combination for a unique piece of property.”

Coun. Bud Mercer said they’d received some letters of concern, and asked if the owners had contacted neighbours about their proposal by door-knocking in the area.

“We tried to make contact with several of the neighbours,” Janssens replied, including strata councils. “I do have to stress that we are planning on living there.”

Ron Angel, president of the Chilliwack Mountain Ratepayers, said that “generally speaking we have no objections,” to the redevelopment proposal, adding that the biggest concern would be if it generated any excessive noise, or if they put a grow-op in one of the buildings, due to concerns with venting issues for properties above.

Council approved the rezoning for light/medium industrial, commercial and residential uses, pending the approval of the development permit.

READ MORE: Heritage barns and other memories


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The old Ray Carman barn, at twilight. (Carsten Arnold photo)

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