1872 Parker Street

As many of will recall, we were lucky enough to have a tour of the interior of Brookhouse at 1872 Parker some while ago.  This was just after a new owner had decided to move ahead with an HRA for the property.  Unfortunately, that project had difficuties and the current owner is seeking a demolition order and the right to build two duplexes.  68 members of GHG have signed the following letter in protest at that plan:

Subject: Development applications (DE417015 and DE417016), 1872 Parker Street

We the undersigned, who together form the Grandview Heritage Group, protest the above-listed development applications and insist that any demolition activity on this property be denied until the heritage house at 1872 Parker is properly assessed with a Statement of Significance and all options are explored for the house’s adaptive re-use under a Heritage Revitalization Agreement.

Built in 1909, the house is one of only about a dozen Queen Anne-style homes whose signature turret has become an identifying emblem of the Grandview area. In spite of its poor condition due to years of neglect, the house still is a landmark on a very prominent section of Victoria Drive, adding character and sharing the streetscape with the 1910 Copp House at Napier and the Hawkins residence (designated and rehabilitated as part of Britannia Lodge) between Napier and Parker. Other significant Queen Anne-style houses in nearby blocks are the Odlum House (a coop on Grant Avenue) and Kurrajong (designated) at Napier and Salsbury.
As well as its distinctive architecture, the house still contains significant interior detailing, in spite of its decades as a rooming house.
In the Mount Pleasant area near City Hall, houses of this style have attracted the interest of sympathetic developers: for example, the former Anglican Women’s Auxiliary house at 334 West 14th, has recently begun the process of conversion into suites with an infill building. It is only laziness and expediency on the part of the property’s current owners that is prompting them to consider demolition of such a heritage asset.

It is our understanding that work was done a year or so ago to develop plans for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement. We insist that these or similar plans become the basis for a future use of the home. Demolition, in this “greenest city,” is simply not an option.

Your sincerely,

The Grandview Heritage Group

6 thoughts on “1872 Parker Street

  1. I am the daughter of Jack Burch, the publisher of the Highland Echo, 1949 – 1994. He still lives in Burnaby and is 91 years old. You should contact him for any information about the drive. Jean and Jack Burch – Call them. They would love to talk to you. 604-294-0069.

  2. Hi everyone, the owners have evicted all of their tenants at this house as of February 15 (despite their being no demolition application, the tenants did go to the Residential Tenancy Board to fight the eviction, to no avail) . I have not heard anything back from City Hall recently regarding a supposed meeting with the current owners and apparent “ongoing discussions on the site, potentially looking at re-initiating the HRA application.” Can someone contact me about this, as I’d like to be included in an efforts to save this house. Thanks.

  3. This is a warning to whoever will be dealing with the owner of this house.
    I am one of those tenants who were kicked out of the house. It was a such a surreal experience to deal with the owner. I will go over that experience so you understand what you are dealing with if you ever have to do business with this guy. The lies started from the moment I handed the deposit to the owner. On few occasions we made it clear to the owner that we are not ready to move on the 15th since we are still paying a rent for the old place until the 30th. Those conversations were happening around the 4th of the month. However, we told him that if he doesn’t want the house empty, we will start moving gradually earlier but we don’t need to if we have to pay for extra 2 weeks. He said that it is fine and he will give us the keys around the 15th and the rent will be due the 30th. So, on the 15th I show up to give him the deposit and to get the keys so I can start moving things in slowly. I guess he figured that I won’t be able to find a new place just in 2 weeks so he took the cash and then told me that he never said that the rent is from the 30th. At that point I realize who I am dealing with and I knew that after the lease expires in 6 months we will be dealing with similar tricks. We moved in and I was shocked to find out that the tenant downstairs and on the main floor had access to my unit. I remember specifically asking him if the 2 sliding doors and glass door to the basement are blocked so other tenants wouldn’t be able to just enter my unit. He assured me that it is locked and they can’t unlock it. He lied about it but we were lucky that the other tenants were amazing people and I could trust them with having access to our unit.
    When he gave me the keys I noticed that the lock to the main door was very old. I asked him if anyone has keys for this door. Again, I was assured that no one has a key. I didn’t fully trust the guy so I put the latch on just in case the first night. Next morning I go to the door and it is open. Someone unlocked it from the outside while we were sleeping but could not open it fully because of the latch. Few days later I was installing a security camera on top of the front door and I found an old key there for the front door. Absolute disrespect for our safety. How expensive is to change the lock?!! I called him and he gave me a new lock for me to install. The deal was that after 6 months we will revisit the situation and if he does not have the building permit by then, we will go on month to month. After the 6th month I told him that we don’t want to be living in the dark and if he doesn’t want to sign a lease for another 6 months we will just start looking for a place. He told me that he does not want to do that but he will “take care of us”, by giving us few months advance notice and one month free rent. Plus he said that “who demolishes a house in the winter?!”…we will be fine until the spring for sure. We kept on checking the city for building permits and they kept telling us that he has not been approved. On December 15th he shows up to collect the rent and right after I hand him the cash he breaks the news that he got a permit. I knew he was lying and I decide not to confront him there so I can talk to the tenants first to see what they think about that. Keep in mind that the basement downstairs was completely redone by the tenant and the rest of the house floors and walls were repainted and fixed up. We made the house so much more livable. So we got together and tried to figure out what was his game. Why would he get rid of all the tenants and lose almost $4000/month rent money before he even gets a permit. We suspected that he wanted to rent it out for more money since now the house is much more livable. So we read on the tenancy act and realized that he cannot kick us out in this fashion. So we confronted him around the December 30th when he came up with these semi-legal forms that said that we have to be out in 15 days. He got angry and stormed out of the house. Next day while we were getting ready for having a new years dinner he shows up and serve us a notice of eviction for all sorts of reasons that turned out to be a lie but I won’t get into details because it is a long story. On some the tenancy board agreed with him but on the main ones (being late for rent and demolishing the house) he failed miserably. When he gave me the eviction notice he made it clear that “This is how we do things in Canada”, implying that since I was not born in Canada, I don’t know how to legally interact with other human beings in Canada. I’ve been living in Canada for over 20 years. Fast forward to the incident when things turn physical. On the day the owner finds out that he lost the case for the basement tenant, him and 2 of his sons come around at 7 pm and start kicking the windows while screaming “Get out of my house bi***, I will kill you all!!!”. The tenant is a mother with a 3 years old daughter. What these guys didn’t know is that she was with a friend there at the time. They start kicking the door. The friend comes out and asks them to stop doing what they are doing. Keep in mind that it is dark outside and there is almost no lights at the back. Things get aggressive and they attack the guy. Things turn ugly and the guest runs inside the basement and locks the door. Police comes around and a report is made but every side claims that the other side attacked them. I find it hard to believe that one guy will jump 3 guys in the dark. From that point we knew that it is not worth living there and we started to look for other places. We found one and on the day I give his two sons the keys, these guys enter my unit and then break into the other tenants units. They turn off the heat and then help themselves to a laptop and some documents to use them as a hostage …I am guessing. The police is called and they could not believe that someone would be that stupid to do something of this sort. The police officer is furious and goes to the owner’s house and warns them that finger prints are being collected and someone will get charged eventually. The tenants were in the process of moving out so every day they would go and pack some of their items. Few days later his two sons enter the house and block the doors so those tenants can’t get to their things. The police is again astonished by the luck of respect for the CANADIAN LAWS!
    Then we find out that he did not get the building permit and he will be selling the house. Then magically someone rips the heritage elements from the house. You make your own conclusions of who that might be.
    This is a warning to all people who might be dealing with this house. Do not exclude any behavior from this owner. This guy is absolutely morally corrupt. Neighbors, keep an eye on this house if it is ever to be demolished while in his possession. Once I told him that the exterior of the house is all asbestos and that will cost him lots of money to remove. He told me that he will hire the “Natives” because they don’t go by any of the safety regulations and hence it will be cheaper. You don’t want any of that asbestos blowing in your way. I guess this is the Canadian way by his definition. Just like the way he was dealing with his tenants.

    • What a story. Thanks so much for sharing it. Perhaps it will save someone some grief down the road. Sorry you had to be a victim of it yourself. Cheers, Penny Street

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