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Homes can be saved for a price

It's truly a shame reminders of Delta's past are disappearing, but it shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the economics at work.

It's truly a shame reminders of Delta's past are disappearing, but it shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the economics at work.

To paraphrase a letter to the editor I received last weekend after the story we ran on the issue: Heritage homes are cool - as long as they're someone else's responsibility. The crux of the matter is that restoring, even maintaining, 100year-old homes is a prohibitively expensive proposition, and there are only so many people that have the money or the inclination to do so.

There are many in the community that have embraced these stately structures, expending countless hours and dollars to ensure the homes retain their original glory. These painstaking projects are almost always labours of love, producing end results admired by all who pass by.

That's the case at the Kirkland House in Ladner, where restoration work began in 1993 and, according to the website of the non-profit foundation managing the century-old home, 18 years later the ground floor is approaching completion.

That's by no means a knock on the good folks of the Kirkland House Foundation, who have volunteered thousands of hours to not only preserve the Edwardian farmhouse, but also create a valued public amenity in the process.

It simply speaks to the time and money that's required to restore and maintain a century-old structure.

It's the same story, but likely without the same happy ending, over at the Kittson residence, that distinguishable yellow home near the junction of highways 10 and 99. The price tag to restore it has been pegged at between $400,000 and $500,000, a daunting figure for the new owners who have, not surprisingly, requested a demolition permit from municipal hall. They're not the first and certainly won't be the last to travel down that road.

Should more be done to try and preserve these links to our past? I don't think there's any question about that, but as the Kirkland House experience demonstrates, saving even one is a major undertaking.

It takes a single-minded desire, a whole lot of sweat equity and a fat wallet to successfully pull it off, a triactor ticket not too many people have the ability to cash. The rest of us are left to look and lament.

Before the wrecking ball arrives, however, these homes are usually available for a buck, so if you've got that - along with an empty lot, a couple hundred grand to move it and half a million to fix it up - you can be a saviour.

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