I was pleased to read the following article in the North Shore News which appeared following Monday's West Vancouver Council meeting.Thanks Brent Richter for taking an interest in the project. Usually, my projects only end up in the newspaper when they are really controversial!
West Vancouver council will soon vote on whether to provide permanent protection to one of the oldest homes in Ambleside in exchange for allowing development on its lot.
The Rush House, at 1195 12th St., was built in 1923 by Maj. Frederick Rush, a First World War veteran who developed the lot into a 0.73-hectare farm following the war.
The house is built in the craftsman style and is notable for its “gabled roofline, wrap-around verandah, cedar-shingle cladding and its extensively landscaped setting,” according the official statement of historical significance.
Under the proposal, developer Michael Geller would have the Rush House hoisted up and moved about 30 feet to the east and put it down on a new foundation, which would include a garden-level suite, along with a new garage and covered deck. Two new “cottages” of just under 2,000 square feet would also be built on the lot.
The finished product would also include a recreated Edwardian garden, something the house has been known for over the years.
“I think the heritage value is in the exterior of the house. It’s in the story of the house. And instead of having a big flat-roof boxed development that may end up on this property, you will forever be able to keep the character of that house,” Geller said.
Coun. Bill Soprovich recalled riding his bike over the Lions Gate Bridge, as a delivery boy in 1951, to drop off prescriptions to the home’s owners. “Isn’t that amazing?” he said.
“And in 50 years from now, it will look exactly the same,” Geller responded.
|Maj. Frederick Rush is pictured in a photo taken during or slightly before the First World War. photo SUPPLIED Ian Macdonald|
Council members were warm to the proposal, not just for saving the home but for its ability to sensitively add infill housing to the neighbourhood.
“This is a good model for addressing the missing middle – creating housing for people who live in the community wanting to downsize or people wanting to come into our community with children. This is the right size and type of housing,” said Coun. Mary-Ann Booth.
Mayor Michael Smith, however, lamented that none of the units would be purpose-built rental.
“It’s been 50 years since we built any rental accommodation in West Vancouver and the community is crumbling as a result. That’s the feedback I get from our residents,” he said.
Neighbours were cautiously supportive of the plan when it was presented to council Monday night. The official public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20.
West Vancouver council has approved a number of similar heritage revitalization agreements in recent years.
(Below are some additional images of how the completed project will look.)
|View looking north across the lane. Laneway and Garden Cottages in foreground. Rush House and garages behind.|
|View looking along the lane|
|View looking along Jefferson Avenue|
|View along 12th Street|