North Saanich heritage home considered for demolition

The Denham Till Park residence, as it’s known, was transferred to the district in 1973 after the death of Dora Madeleine Till

Tearing down Denham Till House is problematic

One of North Saanich’s only registered heritage homes is in such bad shape that the municipality is considering demolishing it.

The Denham Till Park residence, as it’s known, was transferred to the district in 1973 after the death of Dora Madeleine Till. Her will stipulated the property — seven acres and a house — be preserved as public property, a bird sanctuary and be called Denham Till Park. Until recently, the house has been home to a park caretaker. the last tenant moved out in 2013 and it’s currently unoccupied.

In a recent staff report on the condition and future of the house, Eymond Toupin, Director of Infrastructure Services, says the municipality has to date spent $41,000 on repairs.

Now, following a recent bid process to seek contractors to further repair the building to make it habitable, council is considering its options.

According to the report, only one bid was received and it came in at $340,000 — well over the district’s budget of $150,000.

That raised a few eyebrows around the council table Monday night, Oct. 3.

“I’m disappointed at the state the house is in,” said acting mayor Murray Weisenberger, “and the blame, I suppose, can rest with many councils … for letting it deteriorate.”

Prior to 1998, the district required resident caretakers to keep up the house. After 1998, there was a standard tenant agreement in place, requiring the district to perform any work required. In his report, Toupin said “the property has been managed with minimal operational capital investment in the building or grounds.”

Now, the district faces a few options, from demolishing it (the cheapest option) or various ways of paying for repairs.

Repairs are required, stated Toupin, as the house does not currently meet B.C. Building and Health and Safety codes.

Yet tearing it down is problematic, as the house is on the district’s Heritage Register. While that status does not prevent the house from being torn down, some councillors felt it should give it some level of protection.

“This report is a 180-degree change from the last discussion,” said Coun. Celia Stock. “But $340,000-plus to do the work is somewhat shocking.”

she suggested if the house is taken down, perhaps the district can use the money in their budget for repairs, to put up an interpretive sign about the family and the park.

“I voted to restore the house the last time,” Stock continued. “Heritage is important.”

Coun. Jack McClintock said he also voted for the renovations, thinking they wouldn’t be as costly, adding the lone bid amount is “too much.”

Yet, he stated he wanted a clear message from the public before he would give the nod to demolishing the house.

Councillors debated other uses for the house if they decided to repair it, including use for refugee families. That option was questioned by staff, stating it might defeat the purpose of integrating newcomers to the country, as it is quite isolated.

The idea of exploring grant money to help fix the building was also considered.

Council voted to wait before making a decision, to allow them to look into other options and to hear from the electorate. They plan to debate the future of the Denham Till residence at a future committee of the whole meeting.

 

Just Posted

After dark: Sandown construction goes overnight

Noise concerns from Sidney could stop nighttime work schedule

Pioneer Park chosen as site of Central Saanich’s new cenotaph

After some back and forth over the years, Central Saanich councillors chose… Continue reading

Central Saanich property taxes may rise 2.97 per cent

Higher police costs due to new CRD dispatch

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

All aboard! Job fair ports this weekend in Victoria

Find out about the hundreds of jobs in Victoria’s cruise ship industry

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Sooke mom hopeful for funding to treat child’s debilitating arthritis

Jillian Lanthier ‘prays’ for $19,000 per-dose drug for her son

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Most Read