Letter: Our New West home is a Frankenstein. HCA has ruined its value


Re: We were shocked at the vitriol about our New West request, Record letters

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Like the Preovolos family, we live in a house about to be designated under the highest protection category in the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area.

Our house is 17-feet wide. The lot is 44-feet wide. 

The heritage conservation plan is to maintain the streetscape. The only possible renovation will include making the house double its current width. This will "destroy" and not conserve the heritage home - and only make it impossibly expensive for someone.  

And, make it impossible for us to sell our home for anywhere near its assessed value ($1.33m). Given current real estate offerings, we would be lucky to sell for $800,000 - a loss of half-a-million dollars.

We did not buy into a heritage conservation area 13 years ago. We bought a teardown and made it liveable for an empty nest couple. 

Like many homes here, ours has rats on a regular basis and wasps are eating the front wall - but we can't find them. We had to rebuild one wall because wasps had chewed three inches into an almost petrified wood 2-by-4.  It's looking like we may have to rebuild the front wall - bye, bye original siding.

Our house sits on wood 8-by-8 posts that sit on large rocks. The crawlspace is dirt. There is no insulation - we tried that and it encouraged more rats to pee in the insulation. 

At great additional cost, we removed it. We have pest control on speed dial.

new west heritage
The owners of this New West home call it a Frankenstein. Contributed

The house has one bedroom and a small den. The footprint is 800 square feet on an almost 6,000-square-foot lot. Because of this, the city's design consultant has come up with a way for us to add square footage without demolition of the house.

The house is a Frankenstein. Only the front view looks semi-original - it has a brand new front door that I designed and had built and fibreglass windows. The porch posts have been repaired multiple times so even they don't look fully original.

I could not be at the city council meeting to support the Preovolos family’s application and am now sorry I failed to send a letter to city council. 

Our home's designation is soon to be reviewed by city council. I urge everyone to write to support owners' rights to assess the best way to secure a healthy, liveable, design-appropriate home in the Queen’s Park area - including starting over.

Big, beautiful, irreplaceable homes are absolutely worth saving. A too-tiny, falling-apart home that cannot be saved without basically rebuilding around a not-even-original front facade is illogical and a financial tragedy.

We are now the poor hillbillies whose retirement nest egg has vanished. And, no, we did not buy when prices were low - even if we were to take the advice of the city's design consultant and renovate to sell we could not get our initial investment back.

Caitlyn James, New Westminster

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