Heritage Vancouver's endangered sites include three schools, Shannon Estate, 2400 Motel
Sir Guy Carleton elementary school has topped Heritage Vancouver's 2011 list of endangered sites.
Lord Kitchener elementary and J.W. Sexsmith elementary ranked second and third on the group's annual report of historic properties at risk.
At a news conference outside the Museum of Vancouver today (February 19), Heritage Vancouver president Donald Luxton explained that Carleton ranked first for several reasons.
"There are four A-listed buildings on the site on the Vancouver heritage register," he said.
He pointed out that one of the buildings, Carleton Hall, was on Heritage Vancouver's 2010 list of endangered sites. The school is near the corner of Kingsway and Joyce Street in East Vancouver.
"It has been threatened for a while," he added. "There was a fire several years ago, an arson fire. The building has not been repaired. There is a tarp on the roof, but there is water getting in. There is damage to the building."
Luxton also noted that Carleton elementary "dodged a bullet" last year when the Vancouver board of education decided not to shut it down, even though it was on a list of five schools slated for possible closure.
But Luxton warned that Carleton and other historic schools are in jeopardy over the long term because of the need for seismic mitigation. That, he suggested, could put them on a "hit list".
In addition, Luxton said that the board of education has not completed an agreement with Green Thumb Theatre to occupy one of the buildings on the Carleton site.
He claimed that by failing to make the most out of old schools, the board of education is raising the risk of making them redundant.
"We have Sexsmith school on our list for that reason," Luxton said. "Also, Douglas school is in exactly the same situation. They're building a new school. The old school is being left. We are expecting there will be some kind of announcement from the school board as to what they plan to do with the redundant school."
He claimed that "literally dozens of our neighbourhood old schools" are in similar situations.
The highest ranking non-school property on the list was Shannon Estate, which is a four-hectare site near the corner of Granville and West 57th Street. Wall Financial Corp. plans to increase the number of housing units on the grounds from 162 to 891. The company plans to retaine the historic mansion built by the Rogers family in the early 20th century, as well as the Italianate gardens.
Luxton said that Heritage Vancouver supports many parts of the plan, but added that he's concerned about the amount of density. He suggested that this amount of density could undermine the character of the aspects that Heritage Vancouver wants preserved.
"We're asking the question: how much is too much?" he commented. "How much is too much density on a heritage site?"
Heritage Vancouver's Donald Luxton explains why Shannon Estate was the highest ranking non-school property on the list of Top 10 Endangered Sites.
Fifth on the list is the neighbourhood of Strathcona north of East Hastings. Sixth is the Gordon T. Legg Residence, which is an 1899 building at 1241 Harwood Street.
Rounding out the list are the Collingwood Library, Lower Mount Pleasant, Granville Street downtown, and the 2400 Motel at 2400 Kingsway.
Retired transit operator Angus McIntyre, now with the Transit Museum Society, describes the historic bus that toured Vancouver's endangered sites.
Today, members of Heritage Vancouver took a tour of all the sites on a heritage bus. It was driven by retired transit driver Angus McIntyre, who is treasurer of the nonprofit Transit Museum Society.
Feb 19, 2011 at 4:32pm
Tear them down we only need so many heritage site, wings nut at Vision Vancouver causing problems again. Move the Election up by 6 months
Feb 19, 2011 at 11:38pm
I'm convinced that Ken Lawson is not a mere troll, and is actually some sort of performance artist. It's the only rational explanation.
Feb 20, 2011 at 9:55am
How does the 2400 Motel qualify as part of Vancouver's heritage? It's a group of several small cheaply constructed single storey motel buildings. They look like pre-fab units and are not unique in any manner. If these buildings qualify as heritage that means that any structure of this age would also. To give these structures heritage designation is beyond silly.
Feb 21, 2011 at 6:49am
Dear Morty, thank you sir for my first hearty laugh of the day.
Heritage Vancouver Society
Feb 21, 2011 at 12:02pm
Here's the link to the Top 10 list with full info for each site:
Feb 21, 2011 at 3:49pm
The 2400 Motel? Is he on glue? A run down old motel used by local hookers and drug dealers. Just because a building is old does not mean it in any way represents Vancouver's heritage.
Feb 23, 2011 at 3:33pm
It's a little out of bounds for you to suggest that anyone is on glue, never mind someone as lucid as Donald Luxton, who's probably already forgotten more heritage information than I'll ever know in a lifetime.
To get to your point about why the 2400 Motel gets on the list, I'll refer you to the top 10 tour I did with Luxton & Crew in March 2006, where that same site was also on the top 10 list. His comments were quoted in our paper - http://tinyurl.com/4tkehyf
"People often ask us why we support this 'goofy' modern stuff when we talk heritage. Well, 60 years is half the age of Vancouver and we advocate for a variety of heritage conservation. That includes postwar [heritage], as it's disappearing so rapidly."
(Donald Luxton, March 2006)