Council asking B.C. Housing to save old Maple Ridge house on modular home site

But it could be expensive to move 1930s residence

Maple Ridge council wants to attach an expensive string to B.C. Housing’s plan to put 55 temporary modular homes on 22548 Royal Crescent – pay for the moving of the historic old house, known as the Mussallem Residence, on the property.

The housing agency has already offered to donate the cost of demolishing the building, if Maple Ridge wanted to cover the rest of the cost of moving it.

But council, on Tuesday, asked B.C. Housing to cover all the costs of moving the old home from the downtown site – possibly to the Maple Ridge Cemetery, on Dewdney Trunk Road, where it would be preserved and used as the caretaker’s house.

Without B.C. Housing paying all the moving expenses, it’s possible the house could be torn down.

“It’s going to be quite expensive to do,” said Coun. Craig Speirs. “I think it would be a great thing to have at the cemetery. It’s a lovely house.”

But time is of the essence because B.C. Housing wants to start construction on the site soon. B.C. Housing bought three lots in that location for construction of modular homes and is currently going through a request for proposals to hire an operator and wants to have the modular homes open this year.

“I think we’ll have to hear from B.C. Housing first,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, Wednesday.

The social housing project – located at 22534, 22548 and 22556 Royal Cres. – will be staffed 24 hours, seven days a week.

Bob Mussallem, son of former MLA George Mussallem, grew up in the house, along with brother Dave and sister Anne.

Bob said his grandfather built the four-bedroom house in 1936.

“It’s a nice old house.”

It would be nice not to tear it down, he added.

Bob’s grandfather Solomon Mussallem, a former mayor, founded the long-standing auto dealership business, Mussallem Motors.

That building, at 223rd Street and Lougheed Highway, was just torn down following a fire last November.

According to a city staff report, the Mussallem house’s facade hasn’t changed since it was built. It also says the cost of moving the house would be “substantial.”

The house is listed in the city’s heritage inventory.

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