Central Saanich embarks on heritage designation of Brentwood Chapel – Saanich News
The historic Brentwood Anglican Chapel building at 788 Sea Dr. could end up receiving heritage status against its owner’s will.
According to “staff’s best knowledge,” this would be the first time Central Saanich has nominated a building in such a case, the council heard on June 28.
Council voted 4-3 to start the process, along with Mayor Ryan Windsor and councilors. Carl Jensen and Bob Thompson opposed.
â€œYou have to be engaged with an owner and that’s not the direction I want to go,â€ Jensen said. “It is not in the best interest of the property.”
However, the public has also heard arguments for preservation.
â€œIt’s a pretty deep piece of architecture, which also has a big history for Brentwood Bay,â€ said Coun. Graham Newton, later adding: “It would be a shame to see this go.”
In April, the council placed the historic church under temporary protection after receiving an application for a demolition permit from owner David Mackenzie.
The chapel built in 1926 was the only survivor of a fire in 1947 that destroyed the campus of Brentwood College, which is now operating in Mill Bay, just across from the chapel on the other side of Saanich Inlet.
While staff have recommended not launching a heritage designation process, it is due to start later this month.
Mackenzie opposes the designation, telling councilors it has no use for the building. He plans to request residential rezoning of the lot and make a charitable contribution for a cairn commemorating the church.
These moves come after a consultant has assessed the building in accordance with the council’s temporary protection order. Although the assessment found that the church was “of great heritage significance” and deserved to be listed on a heritage register, it was not fully in favor of the designation.
The plans call for the â€œdeconstructionâ€ of the chapel – also known as deconstruction – as part of a donation from Mackenzie to the school. It is possible, but no immediate plans, to reuse or rebuild the Mill Bay Church.
“The (school) has made it a priority to act now, by deconstructing and preserving what remains of the chapel, before time steals this historic piece and it decomposes in the ground”, we read in a presentation. The Council learned that money had been set aside for the school’s use, but a representative from Brentwood College said other projects would be prioritized.
The heritage designation process takes 60 days. Council had previously asked staff to explore stronger commitments regarding the reassignment or reconstruction of the chapel. Staff had also asked staff to explore possible future uses for the chapel. Com. Niall Paltiel hopes the two sides can come to an agreement that satisfies all aspects of the issue.
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