Architecturally unique West Vancouver mansion facing demolition

Dec 20 2019, 1:34 pm

A 1962-built mansion named “The Forrest House” in the British Pacific Properties of West Vancouver is just weeks away from a slated demolition.

But heritage conservationists are urging the municipal government to save the property, arguing that its early West Coast contemporary style, designed by late Canadian architect Ron Thom, has heritage and cultural value worthy of preservation.

In 1964, the unique architecture of the home — located at 1143 Eyremount Drive — was recognized with the Massey Medal for Best Architecture in Canada.

Binning Heritage Society, founded earlier this year to protect, preserve and promote West Coast modern architecture, has been actively campaigning ahead of the deadline of January 16, 2020, when the structure is scheduled to be razed.

District council already provided the property with one temporary reprieve, delaying the demolition last month for 60 days to examine possible ways to work with the property owner and come up with a solution that saves the home.

According to the group, there are at least 10 properties that “deserve protection,” and the Forrest House ranks in their top three of heritage significance. They are proposing to have the property saved by using it for an artist-in-residence program.

An online petition created by the group has received over 1,800 signatures to date.

According to BC Assessment, the 2,600-sq-ft single-storey house — complete with four bedrooms and three bathrooms — sits on a 34,000-sq-ft lot.

Its 2018 assessed value was $4.853 million, with $618,000 from the value of the structure. This is down from the 2017 assessed value of $6.222 million, but nearly all of the lost value was from the collapse in the value of the land.