Mayor’s family home preserved

If application for heritage designation approved, old house will live on

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin outside his childhood home on northeast corner of York Street.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin outside his childhood home on northeast corner of York Street.

An old farmhouse that served as the Daykin family home for decades will be preserved, if council OK’s a heritage designation deal between the present owner and the district.

The sprawling home at 22031 Dewdney Trunk Rd. will be divided into two, lifted up and turned 90 degrees and moved closer to Dewdney Trunk Road, renovated, then have a twin duplex built on the same lot. By creating four living units where there was only one, its financial viability is assured.

It’s a good thing for Mayor Ernie Daykin, who grew up there, one of many Daykins who lived in the house from 1919 to 1971.

“I would be sad to see the thing come down,” the mayor said Friday. “It was a real cool, old house.

“It was a great place to be adventurous.”

The old home, built by Joseph Beeton in 1911, had lots of places for kids to explore. It was heated by a sawdust furnace that used wood chips that were blown into a big tank in the basement, while a stove upstairs burned the same fuel.

The home was the cornerstone of the 10-acre Daykin family farm on Dewdney Trunk Rd. that raised dairy cattle, produced eggs and chickens, along with pears, cherries, plums and apples and allowed several generations to grow up together.

But even back then, raising a family on a farm income wasn’t easy. His dad took an outside job as a milk inspector and even his grand dad worked off the farm as an electrician, the mayor points out.

The farm was subdivided into 22 lots in 1966, and up until recently, before his dad’s death last year, four generations of Daykins were living on York Street. His grandparents lived in the house just to the west of the old home while the mayor’s own home, also on York Street, is kitty corner from the house, while his daughter and her family also live on York Street.

Daykin pointed out, as a kid, he sometimes spent more time at his grandparents’ house than at home. “We saw our grandparents virtually every day.

“There’s been way more upside. It’s been great.”

If you notice a small bend in York Street, near Dewdney Trunk Road, the mayor can tell you why.

“When they put in the road, because we were still living at the old house at the time, my mom said, ‘That road is too close to my kitchen window.’

“So they shifted the road about 10 feet to keep my mother happy.”

The Daykin family sold the house in 1971, and it is now owned by a private contractor. But the mayor plans on excusing himself from discussions as the application moves forward. He still lives across the street, he pointed out.

Council first saw the application for heritage designation at its Monday committee meeting. If approved, the owners of the property will get a five-year property tax holiday from the district as an incentive. Last year’s municipal property taxes rang in at $1,714.

Similar tax breaks were given to the Billy Miner Pub and the Miller residence, in return for the owners designating them heritage buildings, which means the buildings can’t be modified unless approved by council.