One of the last remaining physical reminders of Cadboro Bay’s status as a resort town is coming down.
Saanich council voted unanimously to remove the single family home at 3927 Cadboro Bay Rd. from the Saanich Heritage Register. The homeowners have also applied for a demolition permit for the property, with plans to build a new single family house at the site. Removal of the property from the heritage register clears the way for the demolition.
Jacob Hunter Todd purchased the property between 1890 and 1895 and built the first small cabin on the lot. Charles and Jane Stuart later purchased it, and it remained in their family’s possession for 56 years (1912-1968).
Over the years, the cabin has undergone additions. Staff consider its core as a heritage structure, and added it to the Saanich Heritage Register in 1991.
But this status does not amount to permanent heritage protection and does not impose restrictions on the use of the building or on the rights of the owners.
A survey of Saanich Heritage Foundation in December 2018 found that the original core of the structure would be worth retaining on site, if possible. But a consultant hired by the current owners concluded that the existing building would not meet current building code requirements for seismic loading.
Efforts then turned towards moving the building to a different location in the area, but ultimately ceased because of cost concerns among other issues.
In the end, the owners agreed to share any documents detailing the history of building with Saanich and salvage “significant heritage elements” for reuse and or display. The owners also agreed to research and install a heritage sign on or near the property telling the history of the cottage.
“It is always sad to lose a building that was significant, but in this case the request by the applicant is certainly worthy of support,” said Coun. Susan Brice.
Coun. Karen Harper agreed, adding all parties including the owners had explored all possible options before Monday’s decision.
Coun. Judy Brownoff used the occasion to speak about the importance of preserving the municipality’s heritage.
“It’s where we came from and if we were to lose all of our heritage buildings, it would be a shame,” she said.
The occasion also had a moment of levity, when Coun. Nathalie Chambers wondered if Saanich could purchase the property.
“We do have a motion on the floor, but I don’t really think would be an amendment,” said Coun. Colin Plant, who was chairing council’s committee-of-the-whole meeting where the issue came up. Council later ratified the decision.