Old hotel in Hammond soon to bite the dust

Proposal to build a new treatment centre in heritage area of Pitt Meadows

Hammond Cafe and Rooms

Hammond Cafe and Rooms

One Hammond resident is worried that if the district keeps tearing down old buildings in the area, it won’t have any heritage left there.

Council is currently considering a proposal to tear down the old Maple Crescent Lodge and replace it with a new two-story treatment centre with 41 beds.

“That’s one of the heritage buildings in the neighbourhood,” Eric Phillips said. “It’s one of the buildings that survived the Hammond fire in 1916.”

While council has considered an area plan for Hammond, which would set the character of future development in the area, there’s no set timeline for creating such a plan, which also could serve as a means of protecting the old buildings.

And with the building not on the district’s heritage register or a heritage resource, the old building that used to be called the Hammond Cafe and Rooms could soon be a pile of rubble.

“We’re already losing enough of our heritage as it is,” said Phillips. “If they tear all the heritage out, there won’t be any Hammond.”

Phillips says the old CP Port Hammond train station has already disappeared, as well as the Buckerfield’s feed building.

And other buildings along Maple Crescent that create the rustic feel of old Port Hammond could be at risk. One old building still has a sign that says Hammond Library, while there’s still the old Hartnell House on the corner of 207th Street at 11224 Maple Crescent, listed as one of the “heritage resources” of Maple Ridge.

Two other buildings nearby, the old B.C. Tel building at 20605 Maple Cres. and the old Bank of Hamilton at 20617 Maple Cres., are also listed as a heritage resource.

But the old hotel, or rooming house, now with the sign Maple Crescent Lodge at the front, has no such minimal designation, let alone the protection of being listed on Maple Ridge’s Heritage Register.

And a staff report which describes the zoning application by Innervisions Recovery Society makes no mention of its historical value.

Lisa Zoziak, in the district’s planning department, says there’s no such information on the property, adding if an area plan is created, heritage aspects could be addressed.

The loose group of residents known as Hammond Neighbours is also concerned, although opinions among members vary.

“Everybody has their own opinion,” of the application, said Leanne Koehn, who’s renovating her own home under a heritage revitalization agreement.

Koehn said she’d like to create a heritage village in Hammond, possibly by moving old buildings as such as the old hotel closer together.

She said it would be nice to preserve the building, saying the interior is supposed to be nice.

Craig Speirs, chair of the heritage commission, said the committee hasn’t been contacted by staff or the district.

But it could be to the applicant’s advantage to apply for a heritage revitalization agreement in which tax incentives and development cost charge discounts in return for preserving the building during renovations.

Innervisions founder Billy Weselowski, though, wonders where the concern was for the last couple of decades, when the building was a crack shack.

“The reality is, five years ago that place was the utmost hole in the ground.” It was so bad, a movie company wanted to film a horror production there.

“That strikes me as awfully odd. For 20 years, it was in the depths of darkness and nobody cared about it then.”

Since being acquired by Innervisions, the building, now the Maple Crescent Lodge, has been housing people under treatment for addiction.

“Where would it be if we hadn’t taken it over? There are 18 people in there now. It’s saved some human souls.”

Weselowski said the new building will retain the character of the area and have same colours and trim as the existing buildings along the heritage street of Maple Crescent and that people will have input into the project.

The project is a joint venture between B.C. Housing and the Innervisions Recovery Society, with partial funding provided by the federal government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.