Letter: The reality of the Queen's Park HCA is concerning

Editor:

Re: Family treated fairly, Record Letters, Nov. 7

Steve North, I thank you for your service to the heritage community in Queen’s Park. But it is now pretty obvious you should step aside.

For the record, my husband and I own a 111-year-old heritage house in Queen’s Park.

First of all, your letter states “that there is an understanding amongst many homeowners (in Queen’s Park) that the trade-off is old electrical wiring, lack of insulation, draft windows, and creaky floors.”

Really? This is your advice to homeowners in QP?

Where do I start? Any, and I mean any, permit for renovation or restoration will require these items be upgraded to modern standards by the city. That means money - lots of it.

And believe me, the city inspectors will not buy into your argument, “We aren’t upgrading the wiring because we don’t like faux heritage! The heritage guys say so! And will you let my insurance company know is okay I’m using 70-year-old technology?”

And with good reason.

The electrical wiring of many untouched old houses is a fire trap for its residents and a concern for all neighbours nearby.

Promoting living with drafty windows? Again, where do I start? I guess the climate crisis comes second to heritage conservation in your books. I believe we can do both, but it requires updating expensive windows and maybe just maybe, using modern materials that don’t rot, leak, and warp.

Regarding the QPHCA incentives. Incentives are only incentives if you want them or can use them. And that is a personal choice.

If I own an electric car and the province gives everyone a break on gas prices – it’s no incentive to me. You tried some incentives which obviously aren’t working. Make better and more applicable incentives. That’s how good policy works.

Finally, democracy is not mob rule. It is a set of laws/bylaws/rules that is respected by everyone, even when it doesn’t work in their favour. It can’t be overturned by a whim or a random vote. It protects the rights of the minority, not bulldozes over them.

You state you worked on those rules? Just because they didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean they were wrong. That’s democracy, too. People who drafted the QPHCA promised the residents in QP that they would respect those rules. Don’t like what happened? Well, go through the proper channels and change the rules again. Then take the time to go back to your fellow neighbours who are growing more and more concerned about the reality of the QPHCA.

Nancy Shaw, New Westminster

 

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