Pointe Claire residents are debating the future of a heritage house on King Avenue in the Valois district.
The house, built sometime between 1920 and 1938, has a mansard roof and, according to Michel Forest of the Pointe-Claire Heritage Preservation Society, it was ordered from the store catalogue, both plans and the material.
“Back in the ’20’s you could buy the models of a house like that (in a) Sears catalogue,” he laughed.
“It’s one of the rare examples of that type of building in the early settlement of Valois area.
On Sept. 10, the City of Pointe-Claire demolition committee approved a request by developer, Groupe Houde, to demolish the building and replace it with a new home.
Forest says that was a mistake.
“There is very few buildings in Pointe-Claire that have been declared of heritage interest,” he told Global News.
Such buildings are protected according to city bylaws.
In their arguments to the demolition committee, the developer said the building has deteriorated so renovation would cost too much and that the state of the structure could make it unsafe for workers.
Some people who live next to the building agree that it is in bad shape.
“It is really falling apart,” stressed Willow Hopkins, who lives across the street.
“Like I’ve been in and it almost feels unsafe.”
Forest argued that it’s the developer’s responsibility to find way to renovate the home and doubts the developer’s claim that renovations would be too pricy. He said the city is losing too many of its heritage buildings
“It’s important to keep pieces of your past,” he insisted, pointing to the community’s failed fight to spare the iconic Pioneer Bar building from the wrecking ball. A coalition had tried to save the building in the Pointe Claire Village for more than an year, before developers were given the go-ahead to build condos at the location.
Also, in June this year a century-old home on Saint-Joachim St., also in the Village, was demolished without a permit.
Those who live on King Avenue agree some homes should be saved.
“It’s just sad to see so many houses coming down because this was a unique neighbourhood here in Valois,” stated Wendy Crowley
Her neighbour Heather Drummond, whose house is also mansard-style, thinks the one in question isn’t worth saving because of its dilapidated condition. She said the area wouldn’t lose much by having it demolished.
“There’s one exactly like that across the street so it’s not that unusual, and there’s three others, like two across the street (from my place) and my own,” she noted.
Furthermore, she added, the developer’s proposal for a replacement is similar in style.
Forest insisted that the original has more historical value.
“Building something in a similar style is basically making a copy and it doesn’t replace the original,” he said. “A restored work of art is more valuable than a copy.”
The Pointe-Claire Heritage Preservation Society has appealed the demolition committee’s decision and the City of Pointe-Claire says it will wait for the council’s decision on the appeal before commenting.
Groupe Houde could not be reached for comment.