Oak Bay approves subdivision for lot that houses Maclure-designed heritage home

Mansion-style Blair Gowie house famous for its design and historical connection with Butchart family

The subdivision of the lot that houses the mansion-style Blair Gowie house at 2031 Runnymede Ave. was approved last week.

The deal approves a heritage revitalization agreement to maintain the upkeep of the three-storey Blair Gowie mansion, which is known amongst heritage for being designed by Sam Maclure. It is of Italian Renaissance style, was built in 1916, is situated at the junction where Runnymede Place intersects with Runnymede Avenue and was designated as a heritage house in 1980.

READ ALSO: Heritage house subdivision heads for public hearing in Oak Bay

In the proposal the 2,918 square foot house will remain with the majority parcel of the lot. The proposal carves out a five-sided polygon of 12,800 sq. ft. from the north end of the lot.

Couns. Cairine Green, Esther Paterson, Eric Zhelka and Tara Ney voted in favour with a 4-3 split that saw Mayor Kevin Murdoch, and Couns. Andrew Appleton and Hazel Braithwaite opposed.

“If we said no, we’d be sending a message that Oak Bay doesn’t protect heritage,” Paterson said, adding there is still a filled in swimming pool on the lot that is full of rubble and needs to be addressed.

In 2011 the Blair Gowie house, which is popular for its design elements but also for its historical association with the Butchart family, was the subject of debate and concern as it was in deteriorating condition and in need of a buyer.

“The real fear was that we were going to see the deterioration and the demolition of this property by neglect,” said Ney. “It felt like a rescue.”

But Braithwaite said the heritage revitalization agreement and subdivision are not about that house.

“…It’s about a subdivision,” said Braithwaite, who did not support the HRA. “The intent in 1980 was to protect the entire house and grounds. This is a great community [of streets]. Will those properties nearby want to consider subdividing as well? [If so,] will those streets change?”

The house’s construction was originally commissioned by Harry Ross, the treasurer of the company the Vancouver Portland Cement Company. Ross married Jennie Butchart, the daughter of Robert Pim Butchart, the entrepreneur of the Portland cement company on the Tod Inlet and the former quarry that is now Butchart Gardens.

Maclure also designed the house’s 1926 alterations.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Oak Bay win first Bridgman Cup since 1973

Annual UVic event is an indicator for coming South Island finals, Island finals and provincials

For Central Saanich couple, fight against MS is a matter of family

Altenkirks sell greeting cards and wooden bowls to raise money for MS Society

Victoria feels the pinch at the pump as gas prices jump 18 cents

Gas up to 157.9 cents per litre at some stations

Man swinging election sign threatens to kill woman in Oak Bay

Police detain aggravated man without use of taser

‘Panda’ Goodlife runner searches for his head

Facebook post for help leads to ‘unconfirmed panda head sightings’

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Most Read