Saanich’s creative attempts to save old house dismissed by developers

A 71-year-old house currently listed on the heritage registry will be torn down after Saanich couldn’t convince the owners to save the home.

“I think it’s regretful,” Mayor Frank Leonard said. “I feel like we gave it all we got and we took a good look at every option available to us, but given the rights of the property owners, we ended up making the decision we did.”

That decision – approving a demolition permit – came despite the mayor indicating to the owners he was willing to make bold, one-off zoning amendments to keep the home.

In January, after learning the owners wanted the $2.4 million house at 2700 Queenswood Dr. torn down, Saanich placed a 60-day heritage protection on the home to buy time to pursue other options .

“The current intention remains to achieve a vacant lot,” Aurora Faulkner-Killam, with the law firm Cox, Taylor, legal counsel for the home owners, told council in January. “They’re prepared to listen to whatever Saanich council wishes to discuss, but they’ve been clear with their intentions.”

Trying to convince them otherwise could have meant racking up expensive legal bills or relocating the home and uprooting large trees.

“I think the community will share our dismay, but we certainly tried everything that was available under the law, other than starting to write big cheques,” Leonard said. Among options pitched to the owners was a complete renovation of the house and a subdivision of the property and rezoning to allow for two houses on one lot.

The home was put on the heritage registry in 2005 by Sheila and Byron Davies. The building was formerly owned by Sheila’s parents and had been in the family since 1944.

When contacted by the News, the Davies said they had no objections to the demolition of the home.

Rick Page, president of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association said despite the homeowners being within their legal rights to tear down a home on the heritage registry, he hopes this doesn’t set a precedent in his neighbourhood.

“We have relatively little heritage left and even though some of the houses (in Queenswood) may not be architecturally distinctive, they are an important tie to our past,” he said. “I hope this can turn into an opportunity for Saanich to strengthen their heritage regulations … or put some money behind it so (if this comes up) in the future, they’ll have some financial resources to protect our heritage.”

Leonard agrees that some changes could be made to heritage regulations to ensure at least some parts of our heritage isn’t lost.

“We requested (from the owners) photographic evidence and deconstruction to preserve as much heritage as possible,” he said, “But currently we can’t even legally require those – we just ask that it be done in good faith.”

Faulkner-Killam said this decision was in the best interest of all parties involved.

Just Posted

Oak Bay police issued these surveillance images after a theft from the Cork & Barrel liquor store. The bottle of stolen whisky was valued at $4,636.99. (Courtesy Oak Bay Police Department)
Suspect swipes $5,000 bottle of whisky from Oak Bay liquor shop

Fiat towed after driver fails field sobriety test

Victoria police found and returned this tricycle to a local graphics company after it was reported stolen in downtown Victoria last week. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
UPDATE: Police find stolen tricycle, return it to Victoria company

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on June 17

The Jordie Lunn Bike Park officially opened in Langford on June 22. (Kiernan Green/Black Press Media)
Tires hit the dirt for Jordie Lunn Bike Park opening in Langford

Legendary local rider remembers by family, friends

Swanwick Ranch in Metchosin, featuring an award-winning home on 67 acres of property overlooking the ocean, recently sold for a record-setting, yet undisclosed amount. (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada photo)
Sale of oceanfront property in Metchosin yields new record for Greater Victoria

Listed at $14.1 million, Swanwick Ranch sold to an undisclosed buyer

Esquimalt businesses will be no longer be able to provide single-use plastic bags at the checkout counter come August as the municipality looks to curb the volume of soft plastics winding up in the landfill. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prepares to launch plastic checkout bag ban this summer

Bylaw takes effect Aug. 16, businesses will be unable to provide single-use plastic bags

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s so easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton of Point Roberts, Wash.

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Most Read