Another historic City of Vancouver landmark is poised to face the wrecking ball as the city receives an application that seeks to to demolish the Legg Residence, one of the City's three remaining grand estate homes from the turn of the 19th century and an extremely important link to the history of both the West End and Vancouver.
A public Open House will be held on Monday, October 24, 2011 at Gordon Neighbourhood House (1019 Broughton) from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. to discuss the most recent proposal to build a 17 storey tower, retain the tulip tree and demolish the "A" Heritage Building.
The house at 1241 Harwood Street was under construction in July 1899, just 12 years after the arrival of the CPR railway. The Klondike Gold Rush had ushered in a brief wave of prosperity, and the city’s wealthier citizens were developing a number of grand residences, such as Gabriola on Davie Street, the Abbott House on Jervis Street and the Legg Residence on Harwood Street in the desirable West End neighbourhood.
The fact that the Legg Residence has been evaluated as a category “A” resource, the highest rating on the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Register, speaks to its historic value for our community.
In May of this year the owner presented a proposal to Council that would have seen the Legg Residence preserved and restored to its “Gold Rush splendour” in exchange for permission to build a 17-storey tower on site. The Heritage Revitalization Agreement would have ensured that the Mansion would be conserved for the enjoyment of future generations. The proposal followed all of the city’s own guidelines, had been approved by the city’s Heritage Commission and Design Panel and was supported by city staff.
Despite this, City Council turned down an opportunity to preserve this important part of Vancouver’s history.
Heritage Vancouver is now shocked by the alternate proposal to demolish the A-listed building, while still allowing a 17-storey tower to be built on the site.
Said Heritage Vancouver executive director Janet Leduc: “We do not understand why this proposal would be supportable if the previous application — which retained an A-listed heritage resource — is not.
“Following this direction, rather than approving the proposal to preserve the Legg Mansion, would be an enormous setback for the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Program and would send a profoundly negative message to other owners contemplating retention of a heritage building. The demolition of this West End Mansion is absolutely unnecessary and would undermine the credibility of the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Program,” Ms. Leduc concluded.
To see photos, past and recent, of the Legg Mansion, visit the Heritage Vancouver flickr site.