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Letter: New West council decision a blow to heritage conservation in Queen's Park

Heritage revitalization agreement opens the door for infill housing, and the cost is not worth the benefit
This 1907 home at 221 Townsend Pl. is the subject of a heritage revitalization agreement that has stirred up concern with some residents.

Re: Council approves HRA for lot in Queen’s Park, New Westminster Record, March 25

Council failed to acknowledge/address the following:

1.   That there were over 90 signatures signed by neighbours who opposed the heritage revitalization agreement being used to subdivide a property that would not be subdividable according to the bylaws. i.e. circumventing the bylaws/heritage alteration permit by using an HRA.  

2.    Concerns about the safety of the young children who play on this street: Due to Townsend Place being a "horseshoe" design, there are right angles that impair visibility.  However, the open space (where the new infill house will be built) allowed for motorists and children alike to be aware of what was around the corner.  

3.   The house that will be registered/protected is not the 1907 house that is referred to in the “statement of significance,” but rather a 1930s renovated version of that house.  If, someday, someone is truly interested in restoring the 1907 house B.C. Mills Timber and Trading Company Model H house, they will find it very difficult to do so because what will be registered is the "mutt" house.

This small house on this small street will no doubt open the door for infill houses and forever destroy this small radius of blocks known as Queen’s Park.  To me, it’s about economics; the cost is not worth the benefit. 

And to me that benefit is to conserve this small area that is priceless and irreplaceable.  Density issues will always be on the agenda.  But once this area is lost, it will be lost forever.  

I am writing, I suppose, to vent my frustration.  This is not about house values. This is about protecting conserving something for future generations.  

Anoma Hettige, New Westminster