Letter: Keeping this 1908 house a big win for Queen's Park

Editor:

Re: Owners of 1908 home in New West unfairly ‘villainized’, Record Letters

I’m sorry also.
I’m sorry that Mr. Preovolos wasn’t with me on the Queens Park Heritage Study Working Group, which spent four-plus years crafting a Heritage Conservation Area. He would have seen the evolution of an adopted HCA which was supported by a majority of homeowners, his neighbours, in Queens Park.
He would have appreciated the effort the QPHSWG put in to develop the incentives for properties like his house at 318 Fourth St. that, although it scored low on heritage merit, has great potential to develop the property by using the incentives, thus saving the house.
I’m also sorry that Mr. Preovolos enjoys “the mature trees and aesthetic of the older homes” in Queens Park, but apparently does not want to live in an older house. The residents who supported the HCA did not want a collection of “faux heritage” houses because what makes Queen’s Park unique is its real-built heritage, mature trees, landscape and streetscape, and there is an understanding amongst many homeowners that the trade-off is old electrical wiring, lack of insulation, drafty windows and creaky floors. Rats on the other hand, are in every part of Metro Vancouver. This neighbourhood is made up of all shapes, sizes and ages of older homes, not just the grand homes.
I’m sorry that Mr. Preovolos thought he was the villain in the eyes of those who spoke against his application. Those who spoke were more disappointed that an owner would prefer to demolish a home rather than explore the incentives which could provide an avenue to make changes to the living space but retain the streetscape.
The rules are very clear. Everybody has the right to apply for a change in their house category in the HCA. Whether supported by staff or not, the applicant can take their case to the council for a final say. The reason for the public hearing is to also give the neighbourhood a chance to speak and that’s what they did. That is democracy at work.
This didn’t smack of bad faith as you stated - this is the procedure you have to follow, and in this case it was a win for the neighbourhood and all the work put in by the QPHSWG.
Steve North, New Westminster

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