Pamphlet from group opposed to housing projects. (Contributed)

Pamphlet from group opposed to housing projects. (Contributed)

Most of the money there to move old Maple Ridge home

BC Housing offering $250k to help save house

Maple Ridge council could take B.C. Housing up on its offer of moving the Mussallem Residence house from Royal Crescent to the Maple Ridge Cemetery.

Otherwise, the house would be knocked down this summer when 55 modular homes are built on the site.

B.C. Housing bought the historic property earlier this year at 22548 Royal Cres., along with two other lots, as the site for the temporary modular homes that will be assembled to house mainly the residents of Anita Place Tent City.

Staff are recommending, for Tuesday’s meeting, that Maple Ridge accept $250,000 from B.C. Housing to help cover the moving costs of the building. Another anonymous donor is also kicking in $100,000.

That total of $350,000 should cover most of the cost of relocating the heritage house, which was built in 1937, says a staff report.

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

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

That building on 223rd Street and Lougheed Highway was recently torn down after a fire in November.

B.C. Housing originally offered to just cover the demolition costs of the house, so the city could use that to help defray moving costs.

But city council said later it would only accept the house if B.C. Housing covered all the moving costs. The city has also budgeted $50,000 for the project, which could be reduced if B.C. Housing’s contribution exceeds the actual moving cost.

B.C. Housing wants the house moved by May 15.

The site – located at 22534, 22548 and 22556 Royal Crescent – will include 55 modular homes that will be staffed 24 hours, seven days a week, the province announced Monday.

B.C. Housing is not seeking city rezoning for the project, although a permanent use for that site will seek rezoning.

Coun. Gordy Robson said last week that the city’s acceptance of B.C. Housing’s offer for moving the house doesn’t mean council endorses the modular housing project.

Residents opposed to the project plan on attending council’s Tuesday meeting. The group Burnett Neighbours, which opposes an 80-unit supportive housing and shelter proposed for Burnett Street, is also opposed to the Royal Crescent site.

“B.C. Housing is making an end run around city council approval and local input by declaring the Royal Crescent facility ‘temporary’ to avoid zoning,” said a pamphlet.

“We need council to understand that the neighbourhood is opposed to this and that we want them to fight for us.”

If it can’t stop the project, there should at least be a framework to oversee the project to minimize impact, it adds.