This home at 714 Mackenzie Avenue was built in 1913 by contractors Foote and Pradolini

This home at 714 Mackenzie Avenue was built in 1913 by contractors Foote and Pradolini

Property owner lawyers up in heritage dispute with city

Victoria-based lawyer tells city council that taxpayers could be in for a ‘rude shock’ if city forced to pay reno bill

A dispute between the owner of a heritage-listed property and the City of Revelstoke could have implications for all heritage buildings in Revelstoke and also a financial impact on city taxpayers.

At their Aug. 9 meeting, city council ordered the owner of the heritage-listed property at 714 Mackenzie Avenue to repair significant interior damage and alterations to the house within 45 days.

The house was built in 1913 for W.A. Anstie, president of Forest Mills Ltd. It was designed by Architect William Wallace and built by contractors Foote and Pradolini, who are most well known for building the Revelstoke Courthouse. In 2007 the house was damaged by a fire and has been uninhabited since. In the meantime, much of the interior of the house has been gutted, as shown in inspection documents provided by the city. Walls, beams and much of the interior finishings have been removed.

On Aug. 25, building owner John Skrypnyk appeared before council along with his Victoria-based lawyer John Alexander, who addressed council via telephone.

Alexander told council their remedial action order was “completely and totally unrealistic and unnecessary.” He emphasized the timeline of 45 days was just not doable.

At the core of his argument, Alexander said the city misunderstood the specific distinctions contained in B.C. heritage preservation legislation. Properties can be ‘listed,’ ‘protected,’ or ‘designated.’ Each one carried very specific meanings. Because the building at 714 Mackenzie was not ‘designated,’ one of the options available to the homeowner is demolition and rebuilding under heritage guidelines, Alexander argued. He said his client had applied for a demolition permit in September, 2010 and asked it be issued.

Alexander said the building was never a “designated” heritage building, which placed more restrictions on its owners and often involved some kind of compensation in return.

He said court proceedings have already been commenced, and the city had been served documents.

“If you are going to try and preserve this building, one way or the other, you are going to pay. It cannot be done for free. If you think it can, you have a misguided view of the rights of private property owners in this province under the heritage protection provisions of [our] legislation,” Alexander said.

Alexander told council the City of Revelstoke could wind up footing the bill for the renovations and legal costs, adding the price tag was often a “rude shock” to municipalities, and could easily run into the hundreds of thousands once lawyers, contractors, architects, designers and inspectors were done.

Alexander said recent changes to the City of Revelstoke Official Community Plan also supported his view.

He added that the city is obligated to issue a demolition permit because the building is currently a hazard.

After brief discussion, council opted to stay the course and stick with the remedial action order. They did amend the timeline, doubling the deadline from 45 to 90 days.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Veteran Henry Kriwokon has his photo taken by the Western as he celebrates his 99th birthday with friends at the Cellar in Downtown Penticton. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

Henry Kriwokon was one of the soldiers in the famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy’ photo

Stock photo from
Study: Embrace national long-term care standards

Call to direct public funding only to public and non-profit long-term care providers

Revelstoke Search and Rescue is one of the busiest teams in B.C. (Submitted)
Busy day for Revelstoke SAR with 3 rescue calls

The organisation is reminding people to dail it back and play safe

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swan and eagle numbers

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

Lake Country firefighters helped deliver a healthy newborn baby Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Pixabay)
Lake Country firefighters help deliver baby boy

Firefighters from the Winfield hall assisted with the birth of a healthy newborn Thursday morning

Most Read