Heritage house to be saved as Coquitlam approves 123-unit development

After 113 years on Rochester Avenue, the Pollard House isn’t staying put – but it is staying.

Built in 1909, the Craftsman-influenced homestead was nearly lost, noted Coun. Craig Hodge during Monday’s council meeting.

“We almost didn’t save this one,” he said, explaining the city took the “extraordinary step” of putting a hold on a demolition to see if another arrangement could be worked out.

The arrangement

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Circadian (Rochester) Developments is set to build three townhouses and one apartment building totalling 123 units on seven lots at Rochester and Madore avenues.

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The project requires both large and small relaxations to city bylaws, including increasing density from 1.40 to 1.78, raising the maximum building height from three to six storeys, and nudging total lot coverage from 50 to 51.1 percent.

In exchange for that extra density in a neighbourhood largely consisting of single-family homes, the developer is slated to relocate and restore the Pollard House, which will be formally designated as a heritage asset.

Mayor Richard Stewart lauded the heritage value of the Pollard House, noting woodwork that likely came out of Fraser Mills.

“This is the nicest house I have seen in Coquitlam ever,” he said.

The house is set to be moved to the southeast corner of the site and spruced up with ivory siding and stucco, as well as cedar shingles that would replace the asphalt roof.

The cost of the move

To accommodate the development, the developer plans to cut down 55 trees including a giant sequoia – much to the consternation of neighbour Paula Dewar.

“Removing the tree is akin to removing the heritage home in terms of historical value (let alone the beauty of the tree and the contribution it makes to wildlife),” Dewar wrote in a letter to council.

Dewar suggested greater density might allow the tree to be saved.

“Around the world in different communities where a tree has been seen to have ecological and cultural value, that tree is revered and is incorporated into the architectural designs,” Dewar noted.

Both the site’s sequoia and copper beach trees have extensive roots that wind through central locations on the site, according to a city staff report. The developer is planning to plant 60 replacement trees.

“I wish we could’ve saved the [sequoia] tree as well,” acknowledged Coun. Craig Hodge.

Maillardville connection?

The Pollard House is listed in the Maillardville Heritage Inventory – an inclusion that somewhat puzzled Ben Craig of the Maillardville Residents Association, who asked council for clarity on the matter.

“I guess you could say it’s spiritually in Maillardville,” said the city’s director of development services Andrew Merrill. Merrill explained that the Maillardville Heritage Inventory was completed in 1986, prior to any defined neighbourhood boundaries.

“Being a spiritual member of the community, does that allow us to benefit in Maillardville from community amenity contributions?” Craig asked.

“Spiritually, I guess,” Mayor Richard Stewart answered.

The developer is on the hook for approximately $1.81 million in development cost charges as well as $337,000 in community amenity contributions. Those community amenity contributions are earmarked for the forthcoming Burquitlam YMCA as well as items that fall under the city’s parks, recreation and culture plan.

Breakdown

Aside from one four-bedroom unit, the project includes about 39 studio/one-bedroom units, 41 two-bedroom units and 42 three-bedroom units.

There are currently seven units on the site.

Streetscape

The project also involves extending Clayton Street to Madore Avenue.

Parking

The project is set to include 163 parking stalls.

History

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After leaving his home in Manchester, England, Harrie Pollard eventually settled in Coquitlam with his wife and children. He soon set up three greenhouses on a 10-acre parcel to sell produce at emerging markets in New Westminster.

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