The Future of Navvy Jack House – demolish or preserve?
A reprieve for now.
West Vancouver Council recently resolved to demolish Navvy Jack House. Built in 1873, Navvy Jack House is the oldest building in West Vancouver and the oldest continually occupied residence in the Lower Mainland. This galvanized community support to preserve the building and presentations were made at a recent WV Council meeting on July 20, 2020.
The West Vancouver Heritage Committee, the West Vancouver Historical Society and many others spoke, and the result was positive.
Paula Grossman, chair of the West Vancouver Heritage Advisory Committee, along with members of the community, spoke in support of pausing demolition at the council meeting.
The Heritage Advisory Committee’s proposal for a pause to Mayor and Council’s decision to demolish Navvy Jack House was accepted at the Council meeting on Monday, July 20, 2020.
Rod Day, president of West Vancouver Historical Society (WVHS), presented the case to Council for preserving the house and a copy of the WVHS submission is attached here. Navvy Jack House Submission to WV Council July 20-2020 Final
An article in the North Shore News, highlights the issue, the path forward and an interview with Rod Day. Read here – Time Ticking for North Shore’s Oldest Building.
Their support was matched by a gratifyingly large number of emails and phone messages to Mayor and Council. Some messages also expressed concern that the decision to demolish was made at a closed meeting of Council, and others about West Vancouver’s practice of neglecting heritage assets in its care.
For more about the history of John “Navvy Jack’ Thomas and his house, an interesting read is the WVHS research paper written by Hugh Johnson around 1996 entitled “John Navvy Jack Thomas – First Landowner in West Vancouver 1872”. Read the history here. Navvy Jack House History by HughJohnson
A video was produced on Navvy Jack House for the presentation to WV Council. The video can be viewed on the West Vancouver Historical Channel on You Tube – A Future for Navvy Jack House? The story in 3 minutes.
WVHS thanks each and every person who supported West Vancouver Heritage Advisory Committee’s proposal to pause the demolition of this home which is so prominent in the history of our community, and the history of our province.
Now the work begins to create a future for Navvy Jack House – by September 14, 2020.
West Vancouver Historical Society welcomes comments, suggestions, bright ideas, willing helpers, and as always, support.
Please get in touch with WVHS: www.wvhs.ca firstname.lastname@example.org 778.279.2235
***Click Navvy Jack House Project to find updated information on the fight for Navvy Jack House preservation and restoration, including links to the presentation submitted to DWV on Sept 14, 2020 for discussion with DWV Council expected in Oct/Nov 2020.