Navvy Jack House

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Next steps for Navvy Jack House

Update: November 27, 2020

The District is conducting further work to determine the cost of restoring and relocating the house. This work will include deconstruction and removal of hazardous materials by a certified contractor, and will take place around November to December 2020.

Next steps include:

  • legally protecting the building via a Heritage Designation Bylaw
  • working with the Navvy Jack House citizen group to advance the project
  • engaging with First Nations on the appropriate commemoration of the house and site
  • planning for the restoration of Lawson Creek Funding A grant application has been submitted to Heritage BC and an overall funding strategy will be required.

Council has allocated up to $1 million in matching funds from Community Amenity Contributions, and private fundraising is also being organized.



Update: November 13, 2020

Navvy Jack House – Update

The October 5 Council Resolution is set out below in italics, together with the Staff comments on each part of the resolution.

1. the demolition order for Navvy Jack House be rescinded

This has been done and clearly recorded in the District’s Council Minutes.

2. that Council allocate up to $150,000 from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund to determine the feasibility and cost of restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House; and

staff report back to Council with an update regarding the feasibility and cost of restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House as soon as possible

The $150,000 allocation has been recorded. Staff have engaged a third-party construction company and will be working with a heritage consultant on the process of determining feasibility and costing. The first steps are to commence hazmat remediation, and then begin to deconstruct generally to the 1907 form (possibly with the addition of the upstairs dormer area) taking into account the recommendations of the heritage consultant. This physical deconstruction will provide the District with the ability to more accurately inspect and assess the integrity of the physical structure, understand better the implications of moving the structure, and obtain more precise costing for restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House (“the House”).

It is anticipated that the hazmat remediation and deconstruction will be completed around the end of 2020, which would enable more detailed costing to be obtained during January 2021.

3. that staff work toward legally protecting the Navvy Jack House via a heritage designation bylaw

The District is working with a heritage consultant on identifying the elements to be incorporated into the heritage designation bylaw, including the character-defining elements, location, etc. This work will also be informed by the information to be obtained during the deconstruction process, and so some of the work on the bylaw will take place after January 2021.

4. a District staff member be identified to work with the Navvy Jack House Citizen Group to complete a Heritage BC (CERIP) application by October 29, 2020, which envisions a flexible multi-use facility for public benefit, with a potential commercial element so as to not create a revenue deficit for the District

The Deputy CAO has been assigned to this Council priority project. The CERIP grant application was submitted on October 29, 2020, before the application deadline. The CERIP materials provide that “Successful applicants will be contacted in January 2021” and that “All funds will be paid out by March 31, 2021”.

5. a matching amount to a maximum financial contribution of up to $1 million be allocated from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund toward the costs of conserving and repurposing the Navvy Jack House pending a successful CERIP grant application, recognizing that an overall funding strategy will be required to cover all project costs

An allocation of up to $1 million has been recorded in the Community Amenity Contribution Fund, which as stated above, is contingent on a matching amount, and is pending a successful CERIP grant application. As mentioned above, the results of the CERIP grant application will be available by January 2021. Staff understand that the Navvy Jack House citizen group is considering the next steps with respect to fundraising for the Project.

6. Staff develop a plan to respectfully and meaningfully engage with First Nations regarding their connection to Navvy Jack House, including archeological considerations

Staff will be setting up meetings with First Nations shortly to engage with them on matters such as commemoration, restoration, and also to begin the process of referrals to understand potential archaeological considerations when conducting excavation. Understandably, this important work can take some time and needs to be built into the overall Project timeline.

7. Staff identify the optimal structure, including terms of reference, for how to best work with the citizen group to move the project forward, and report back to Council by November 30, 2020, and

Staff have been working closely and collaboratively with representatives of the Navvy Jack House citizen group. Staff intend to meet with the representatives on a monthly basis, and as needed, in order to provide material updates. Due to the significance of the information to be received during January 2021, and the need to focus on that important work, the detailed structure including terms of reference, will be started after January 2021.

8. the Navvy Jack House be either relocated or removed, subject to the underlying condition and movability of the 1907 form, prior to the anticipated start date of the Lawson Creek Restoration Project in order to ensure that the Project can proceed as intended; and

Much of this will be informed by the results of the work to be obtained by January 2021. With respect to the Lawson Creek Restoration Project, Staff are meeting with representatives of the West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society now to understand more details about the concept, future design, potential permitting requirements from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, cost, funding and overall timeline. This information will also be reported out after January together with the costing and restoration information.

9. staff prepare a brief report by November 30, 2020, outlining the impact of this project on Council’s identified goals and objectives, including what Council goals and objectives will have to be removed to accommodate this project.

As demonstrated above, substantial progress has been made on the Project in a very short period of time.

It should be noted that pivoting from a demolition project to a restoration project and adding Navvy Jack House to Council’s Strategic Objectives, and to the District’s work plan, is significant and has implications.

The Navvy Jack House Project, due to its unanticipated nature, high priority, high profile, public engagement with the citizen group and others, and tight deadlines, has already impacted the pace of District projects.

As we gain more detailed information during the beginning of 2021, we will be able to more precisely state the impacts on other projects.

Read the full Report to Council (Nov 16, 2020, Council Meeting)

Update: October 6, 2020

Navvy Jack House – Next Steps

Navvy Jack House is the oldest continuously occupied home in the lower mainland, and its history is one of the beginnings of the municipality of West Vancouver and the shared history of First Nations and European settlers. The history of this municipally-owned property was shared in public consultation in 2019. Earlier this year, Council decided to demolish the building—due to the poor condition of the home and the high cost of salvaging it—and to proceed with a commemoration of the site and history in consultation with First Nations.

Subsequently, Council deferred the demolition order to allow the Navvy Jack House Citizen Group to submit a report to Council with a proposal for preserving the house. District staff then reviewed the citizen report and balanced the recommendations against existing District resources and Council priorities.

Given the existing budget and work plan, staff were obligated to recommend demolition, but acknowledge that it is Council’s decision to consider changes to their strategic objectives and major project priorities to accommodate a project to preserve Navvy Jack House.

Council Report, including Citizen's Group Report

Council then proposed a new resolution that will allow time to take steps to qualify for grant funding to support the preservation of the house, while continuing to work with stakeholders to determine the final use of the house, and amending Council's Strategic Goals and Objectives to allocate resources to the project.

The resolution (unadopted) is in nine parts. That:

  1. the demolition order for Navvy Jack House be rescinded
  2. that Council allocate up to $150K from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund to determine the feasibility and cost of restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House as soon as possible
  3. that staff work toward legally protecting the Navvy Jack House via a heritage designation bylaw
  4. a District staff member be identified to work with the Navvy Jack House Citizen Group to complete a Heritage BC (CERIP) application by October 29, 2020, which envisions a flexible multi-use facility for public benefit, with a potential commercial element so as to not create a revenue deficit for the District of West Vancouver
  5. a matching amount to a maximum financial contribution of up to $1 Million be allocated from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund towards the costs of conserving and repurposing the Navvy Jack House pending a successful CEIRP grant application, recognizing that an overall funding strategy will be required to cover all project costs
  6. Staff develop a plan to respectfully and meaningfully engage with First Nations regarding their connection to Navvy Jack House, including archeological considerations
  7. Staff identify the optimal structure for an advisory body, including terms of reference, for how to best work with the citizen group to move the project forward, and report back to Council by November 30, 2020, and
  8. the Navvy Jack House be either relocated or removed, subject to the underlying condition and movability of the 1907 form, prior to the anticipated start date of the Lawson Creek Restoration Project in order to ensure that the project can proceed as intended; and
  9. staff prepare a brief report by November 30, 2020, outlining the impact of this project on Council’s identified goals and objectives, including what Council goals and objectives will have to be removed to accommodate this project.

Update: July 20, 2020

Council received the report on community engagement for the proposed Navvy Jack Nature Centre on July 20, 2020.

Report to Council: Navvy Jack Nature Centre – Community Consultation Results

At their July 20, 2020 regular meeting, Council passed the following resolution:

THAT

  1. the District postpone the demolition of Navvy Jack House in order to allow a group of interested members of the public to consider and provide additional information by September 14, 2020 to Council for the District’s consideration including the group’s views on:
  2. whether a portion of the house should be preserved, and, if so, what portion;
  3. how the preserved portion of the house could be used for the public’s benefit;
  4. where the preserved portion of the house should be located;
  5. what would be the estimated cost of reducing the building to its desired form, raising and/or moving it;
  6. what would be the capital and annual operating costs for the proposal; and
  7. how much of the costs can be fundraised; and
  8. A staff representative be designated to answer questions or requests for information from the group with respect to the above.

Update: June 22, 2020

At their June 22, 2020 special (closed) meeting, Council:

  1. resolved to not proceed with the nature centre concept proposed for Navvy Jack House and to deconstruct the House due to its poor condition, high restoration or renovation cost, and the demonstrable lack of public support for expending additional public resources for maintaining and renovating the House;
  2. directed staff to continue to explore other opportunities for a nature centre and/or nature centre programming as they arise; and
  3. directed staff to work with the West Vancouver Streamkeeper Society on their proposal to enhance Lawson Creek adjacent to the Navvy Jack House.


Next steps for Navvy Jack House

Update: November 27, 2020

The District is conducting further work to determine the cost of restoring and relocating the house. This work will include deconstruction and removal of hazardous materials by a certified contractor, and will take place around November to December 2020.

Next steps include:

  • legally protecting the building via a Heritage Designation Bylaw
  • working with the Navvy Jack House citizen group to advance the project
  • engaging with First Nations on the appropriate commemoration of the house and site
  • planning for the restoration of Lawson Creek Funding A grant application has been submitted to Heritage BC and an overall funding strategy will be required.

Council has allocated up to $1 million in matching funds from Community Amenity Contributions, and private fundraising is also being organized.



Update: November 13, 2020

Navvy Jack House – Update

The October 5 Council Resolution is set out below in italics, together with the Staff comments on each part of the resolution.

1. the demolition order for Navvy Jack House be rescinded

This has been done and clearly recorded in the District’s Council Minutes.

2. that Council allocate up to $150,000 from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund to determine the feasibility and cost of restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House; and

staff report back to Council with an update regarding the feasibility and cost of restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House as soon as possible

The $150,000 allocation has been recorded. Staff have engaged a third-party construction company and will be working with a heritage consultant on the process of determining feasibility and costing. The first steps are to commence hazmat remediation, and then begin to deconstruct generally to the 1907 form (possibly with the addition of the upstairs dormer area) taking into account the recommendations of the heritage consultant. This physical deconstruction will provide the District with the ability to more accurately inspect and assess the integrity of the physical structure, understand better the implications of moving the structure, and obtain more precise costing for restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House (“the House”).

It is anticipated that the hazmat remediation and deconstruction will be completed around the end of 2020, which would enable more detailed costing to be obtained during January 2021.

3. that staff work toward legally protecting the Navvy Jack House via a heritage designation bylaw

The District is working with a heritage consultant on identifying the elements to be incorporated into the heritage designation bylaw, including the character-defining elements, location, etc. This work will also be informed by the information to be obtained during the deconstruction process, and so some of the work on the bylaw will take place after January 2021.

4. a District staff member be identified to work with the Navvy Jack House Citizen Group to complete a Heritage BC (CERIP) application by October 29, 2020, which envisions a flexible multi-use facility for public benefit, with a potential commercial element so as to not create a revenue deficit for the District

The Deputy CAO has been assigned to this Council priority project. The CERIP grant application was submitted on October 29, 2020, before the application deadline. The CERIP materials provide that “Successful applicants will be contacted in January 2021” and that “All funds will be paid out by March 31, 2021”.

5. a matching amount to a maximum financial contribution of up to $1 million be allocated from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund toward the costs of conserving and repurposing the Navvy Jack House pending a successful CERIP grant application, recognizing that an overall funding strategy will be required to cover all project costs

An allocation of up to $1 million has been recorded in the Community Amenity Contribution Fund, which as stated above, is contingent on a matching amount, and is pending a successful CERIP grant application. As mentioned above, the results of the CERIP grant application will be available by January 2021. Staff understand that the Navvy Jack House citizen group is considering the next steps with respect to fundraising for the Project.

6. Staff develop a plan to respectfully and meaningfully engage with First Nations regarding their connection to Navvy Jack House, including archeological considerations

Staff will be setting up meetings with First Nations shortly to engage with them on matters such as commemoration, restoration, and also to begin the process of referrals to understand potential archaeological considerations when conducting excavation. Understandably, this important work can take some time and needs to be built into the overall Project timeline.

7. Staff identify the optimal structure, including terms of reference, for how to best work with the citizen group to move the project forward, and report back to Council by November 30, 2020, and

Staff have been working closely and collaboratively with representatives of the Navvy Jack House citizen group. Staff intend to meet with the representatives on a monthly basis, and as needed, in order to provide material updates. Due to the significance of the information to be received during January 2021, and the need to focus on that important work, the detailed structure including terms of reference, will be started after January 2021.

8. the Navvy Jack House be either relocated or removed, subject to the underlying condition and movability of the 1907 form, prior to the anticipated start date of the Lawson Creek Restoration Project in order to ensure that the Project can proceed as intended; and

Much of this will be informed by the results of the work to be obtained by January 2021. With respect to the Lawson Creek Restoration Project, Staff are meeting with representatives of the West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society now to understand more details about the concept, future design, potential permitting requirements from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, cost, funding and overall timeline. This information will also be reported out after January together with the costing and restoration information.

9. staff prepare a brief report by November 30, 2020, outlining the impact of this project on Council’s identified goals and objectives, including what Council goals and objectives will have to be removed to accommodate this project.

As demonstrated above, substantial progress has been made on the Project in a very short period of time.

It should be noted that pivoting from a demolition project to a restoration project and adding Navvy Jack House to Council’s Strategic Objectives, and to the District’s work plan, is significant and has implications.

The Navvy Jack House Project, due to its unanticipated nature, high priority, high profile, public engagement with the citizen group and others, and tight deadlines, has already impacted the pace of District projects.

As we gain more detailed information during the beginning of 2021, we will be able to more precisely state the impacts on other projects.

Read the full Report to Council (Nov 16, 2020, Council Meeting)

Update: October 6, 2020

Navvy Jack House – Next Steps

Navvy Jack House is the oldest continuously occupied home in the lower mainland, and its history is one of the beginnings of the municipality of West Vancouver and the shared history of First Nations and European settlers. The history of this municipally-owned property was shared in public consultation in 2019. Earlier this year, Council decided to demolish the building—due to the poor condition of the home and the high cost of salvaging it—and to proceed with a commemoration of the site and history in consultation with First Nations.

Subsequently, Council deferred the demolition order to allow the Navvy Jack House Citizen Group to submit a report to Council with a proposal for preserving the house. District staff then reviewed the citizen report and balanced the recommendations against existing District resources and Council priorities.

Given the existing budget and work plan, staff were obligated to recommend demolition, but acknowledge that it is Council’s decision to consider changes to their strategic objectives and major project priorities to accommodate a project to preserve Navvy Jack House.

Council Report, including Citizen's Group Report

Council then proposed a new resolution that will allow time to take steps to qualify for grant funding to support the preservation of the house, while continuing to work with stakeholders to determine the final use of the house, and amending Council's Strategic Goals and Objectives to allocate resources to the project.

The resolution (unadopted) is in nine parts. That:

  1. the demolition order for Navvy Jack House be rescinded
  2. that Council allocate up to $150K from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund to determine the feasibility and cost of restoring and relocating the Navvy Jack House as soon as possible
  3. that staff work toward legally protecting the Navvy Jack House via a heritage designation bylaw
  4. a District staff member be identified to work with the Navvy Jack House Citizen Group to complete a Heritage BC (CERIP) application by October 29, 2020, which envisions a flexible multi-use facility for public benefit, with a potential commercial element so as to not create a revenue deficit for the District of West Vancouver
  5. a matching amount to a maximum financial contribution of up to $1 Million be allocated from the Community Amenity Contribution Fund towards the costs of conserving and repurposing the Navvy Jack House pending a successful CEIRP grant application, recognizing that an overall funding strategy will be required to cover all project costs
  6. Staff develop a plan to respectfully and meaningfully engage with First Nations regarding their connection to Navvy Jack House, including archeological considerations
  7. Staff identify the optimal structure for an advisory body, including terms of reference, for how to best work with the citizen group to move the project forward, and report back to Council by November 30, 2020, and
  8. the Navvy Jack House be either relocated or removed, subject to the underlying condition and movability of the 1907 form, prior to the anticipated start date of the Lawson Creek Restoration Project in order to ensure that the project can proceed as intended; and
  9. staff prepare a brief report by November 30, 2020, outlining the impact of this project on Council’s identified goals and objectives, including what Council goals and objectives will have to be removed to accommodate this project.

Update: July 20, 2020

Council received the report on community engagement for the proposed Navvy Jack Nature Centre on July 20, 2020.

Report to Council: Navvy Jack Nature Centre – Community Consultation Results

At their July 20, 2020 regular meeting, Council passed the following resolution:

THAT

  1. the District postpone the demolition of Navvy Jack House in order to allow a group of interested members of the public to consider and provide additional information by September 14, 2020 to Council for the District’s consideration including the group’s views on:
  2. whether a portion of the house should be preserved, and, if so, what portion;
  3. how the preserved portion of the house could be used for the public’s benefit;
  4. where the preserved portion of the house should be located;
  5. what would be the estimated cost of reducing the building to its desired form, raising and/or moving it;
  6. what would be the capital and annual operating costs for the proposal; and
  7. how much of the costs can be fundraised; and
  8. A staff representative be designated to answer questions or requests for information from the group with respect to the above.

Update: June 22, 2020

At their June 22, 2020 special (closed) meeting, Council:

  1. resolved to not proceed with the nature centre concept proposed for Navvy Jack House and to deconstruct the House due to its poor condition, high restoration or renovation cost, and the demonstrable lack of public support for expending additional public resources for maintaining and renovating the House;
  2. directed staff to continue to explore other opportunities for a nature centre and/or nature centre programming as they arise; and
  3. directed staff to work with the West Vancouver Streamkeeper Society on their proposal to enhance Lawson Creek adjacent to the Navvy Jack House.
  • The story of John “Navvy Jack” Thomas

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    06 Aug 2019


    Who was Navvy Jack?

    The house at 1768 Argyle Avenue was built by Navvy Jack. Navvy Jack’s real name was John Thomas, and he came from Wales in about 1860. He played a key role in British Columbia's pioneer history and bought the property on the West Vancouver waterfront to build a home for his new bride in approximately 1874. He was known for many "firsts", including operating the first by-request ferry service from Vancouver to Ambleside in 1866. His home was the location of the first post office, church service and wedding ceremony in West Vancouver. He ran a gravel business and a specific mix of sand and gravel is still named after him.

    Navvy Jack is an ancestor to many Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam families. His house is historically significant for its age and its story, which includes being the first non-indigenous settlement and for the marriage of Jack to Rowia, a Musqueam Nation woman who was the grandaughter of "Old Chief" Kiapilano. Jack and Rowia raised four children here; Sampson, Christine, Mary and Emma. Christine married Chief Henry Jack of Squamish Nation: their daughter Amy, grand-daughter to Jack, married Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the renowned community leader, actor and writer. See below for more on the story of Navvy Jack Thomas.


    Other residents of 1768 Argyle

    In 1907 another pioneer, John Lawson, bought the house and he lived here until 1928. He planted a holly tree next to the house and named his home “Hollyburn”. (Holly for the tree, burn for the creek.) He added a small peaked dormer on the front and two brick chimneys. He is remembered at adjacent John Lawson Park. In 1921 the house was moved slightly on the site to make way for Argyle Avenue.

    The property was also owned by Emma Macfarlane and then by the Hookham family. Leonard Hookham was a cabinetmaker and they lived in this house for 43 years. The Hookhams sold the property to Lloyd Williams in 1971. The District bought the house in 1990 with life tenancy to the Williamses. Lloyd passed away in 2017.

    The house has been home to families for 143 years, and over that time it has undergone numerous renovations and some neglect. There is not much of the original house left—much of this building’s history is one of change.

    The District is consulting the community of the future of this building. If restored, the project would recreate the 1909 version of the house, including the brick chimneys added by John Lawson.


  • Historic timeline

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    18 Nov 2020

    Arrival

    John Thomas was born in Wales near Cardiff. He came from a very well-off family, but when he was 18 years old he had a quarrel with his mother and he left for North America by hitching a ride on a British Navy vessel. He jumped ship when he arrived in Burrard Inlet. The association with the Navy gave him the nickname Navvy Jack.

    1860-1865

    Records show Jack involved in the Cariboo Gold Rush in the early 1860s as a freighter. He was about 30 years old when he was one of a group of five men who packed a piano on their backs from Quesnel to Barkerville. The piano had been shipped from France, up the Fraser River to Hope by sternwheeler, to Quesnel by wagon, and carried on the backs of men the rest of the way to Mary Nathan’s saloon. The piano is still in Barkerville.

    West Vancouver businessman

    Navvy Jack arrived in West Vancouver around 1866. He ran an on-demand ferry service with a 30-foot sloop, running passengers and freight between Moodyville, Hastings and New Brighton. If there were only one or two passengers he would use a rowboat. His ferry service was displaced by a small steamer, which ran a regularly scheduled service and connected to the new daily stagecoach over Douglas Road.

    In 1867 he began hauling gravel from the mouth of the Capilano River to construction sites around the inlet. The sand and gravel mix he delivered is a major component in mixing concrete and is still called “Navvy Jack” in Vancouver’s building trade. He ran his gravel business from an office on the Vancouver waterfront and kept his sloop in Swy-Wee Lagoon. The lagoon was later known as Ambleside slough; in later years it was filled in to create the beach, but today’s duck pond is a remnant of the original slough.

    Navvy Jack House

    In 1872 John Thomas acquired the property where he would build his house in 1873. The property stretched from today’s Navvy Jack Point to 16th Street, from the waterfront inland to Haywood Avenue.
    Reports indicate Navvy Jack’s house was complete when Albert Finney arrived in May 1874 to lay the foundation for the Point Atkinson Lighthouse. The house was described as a “neat white house, almost elegant for its time”. It was built with clear old-growth fir and cedar. The exterior was finished with a distinctive moulded cedar siding and the full-width porch across the front had lathe-turned posts with Victorian gingerbread ornamentation on the arches.

    The house was the first permanent colonial residence in West Vancouver. Later, it would house the first post office, the first church service, and in it was conducted the first marriage ceremony.

    Marriage and family

    In the early 1870s Thomas married Row-i-a, granddaughter of old Chief Ki-ep-i-lano. They met when Row-i-a’s family was visiting from Musqueum Nation. Jack and Row-i-a had four children: Emma (1876), Christine (1878), Mary (1883) and Sampson (1888).

    Navvy Jack’s children were educated by a governess. Their mother Row-i-a died in 1888 and the governess took over their care.

    All of the Thomas children married and had children; Navvy Jack is an ancestor of many, many families in the Squamish, Musqueum and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

    The 1890s

    In 1891 the District of North Vancouver was created, and the municipality included the entire North Shore. The economic boom ended in 1892, followed by a financial crisis in 1893. 1893 also saw the first private subdivision when Navvy Jack sold the westerly 100 acres of his property to Edward Mahon, and another 20 acres to William Rhys-Jones. He kept 40 acres.

    Word came that there was wealth to be had in the Cariboo goldmines, and at some point in the 1890s he travelled to Barkerville. He never came back to West Vancouver.

    John Thomas died in Barkerville in 1897, likely of pneumonia. His gravestone still stands today.
    The children’s governess took them to their mother’s family and the house appears to have gone to auction for unpaid taxes.

    It was purchased by John Lawson in 1906.

    Source: Family records of Evelyn May Findlay Lamont, great, great granddaughter of John Thomas, through his daughter Mary’s line. Summarized by the District of West Vancouver 2019, with permission of Evelyn May Findlay Lamont.
  • Past consultation

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    2019 Community Consultation

    The District asked the community:

    • Does the community support the concept of a West Vancouver nature centre?
    • Does the community support locating a nature centre on the waterfront?
    • Does the community support restoring the heritage house known as Navvy Jack House for the nature centre, or building a new facility?
    • Does the community support using Community Amenity Contribution funds to create a nature centre?

    The deadline to complete the survey was Monday, September 30 at 4 p.m. Thank you for your input!

    Survey

    Thank you to everyone that completed a survey. We received 475 survey submissions.

    The survey closed on Monday, September 30 at 4 p.m.

    Report to Council - July 2020: Navvy Jack Nature Centre – Community Consultation Results

    Information Meetings

    Information meetings provided an opportunity to learn more about the site and the proposal. They took place on September 17, 21 and 24.

    The concept

    The proposal for a nature centre was first submitted by West Vancouver’s community stewardship groups. They envisioned a centrally-located nature centre that would profile and highlight the natural riches of our community. Displays and information, supported by stewardship groups, would inspire visitors to take information away and explore the myriad of natural wonders in our community, including forests, parkland, shorelines, wetlands, streams and local wildlife.

    Council approved the submission in 2014, subject to a sustainable business plan.

    What is a nature centre?

    It is a public space for programs and services that support education and promotion of the natural environment and our cultural heritage.

    A West Vancouver nature centre would offer environmental and heritage programs and education. Programs and events will take place both inside the building and outside in the nearby park. The space would host:

    • indoor and outdoor environmentally-themed programs and events for children, youth, families
    • educational activities supporting the efforts of community environmental stewardship groups
    • heritage programs, activities and events
    • private functions, as a facility available to rent

    Operating model

    An advisory committee that includes representation from local stewardship groups, Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and other community stakeholders would help develop the nature centre’s programming. The annual operating cost is projected to be $110,000, and takes into account operating costs and revenue projections from programming and rentals.

    Funding from Community Amenity Contributions (CACs)

    If the community supports this project, funding would come from the District’s Community Amenity Contributions. These are funds that are provided to the District by a developer when Council grants development rights through re-zoning. A nature centre would be a new community amenity and therefore qualifies for this type of funding.

    If you support proceeding with a nature centre, three options are presented for your consideration, with costs ranging from $1,300,000 to $2,314,000. The District currently has over $12 million in CACs.

    Challenges

    Restoring a residential building to the standards required for public use is expensive. In this case, restoring this heritage property would cost more than building a new facility.

    The project costs presented include all expenses associated with design, permits, insurance and construction to convert the existing structure to a one-storey 1,200 square foot program area with:

    • hazmat removal
    • relocating the building
    • elevating the building to address sea level rise
    • refinishing the exterior of the structure to replicate the 1909 version of the house
    • new interior flooring and finishing
    • accessibility features
    • food preparation area
    • washrooms
    • storage room
    • landscaping