Delta heritage home on Perimeter Road hit list
By Jeff Nagel, Black Press
A Delta heritage mansion built in 1912 looks like it will be among the casualties of the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
The $800-million truck route from Deltaport to 176 Street is expected to claim dozens of houses as construction gears up, but Charlotte Wawryk never dreamed it would take their home.
The family lives in the house of Alfred Jensen, who was the manager of the historic Annieville Cannery.
It's designated a heritage property on Delta's rural heritage inventory.
"It's a gorgeous house that has a tonne of history," Wawryk said.
"My kids are freaked out -my daughter especially," she said. "My husband is ready to retire and enjoy this beautiful property we have."
The house at 11192 River Road is on an acre bounded by two ravines and a greenbelt.
The South Fraser Perimeter Road wouldn't run through the home, but the current planned alignment would leave it cut off without access.
"We'd need a helicopter pad or something," Wawryk said. "It would be just stupid."
The family attended Gateway Program open houses, but say they learned little until a Gateway staffer contacted them.
"He said 'You're slated to be bought out,'" Wawryk recalled.
Gateway ruled out as too expensive a tunnel through the area that would have preserved access to the Jensen house.
And so far it doesn't plan an access or frontage road to the property.
After 15 years of lovingly tending the near century-old house and expanding its gardens, the family is stunned.
"It never crossed our minds - ever, ever -that this would happen," Wawryk said. "I'm still in denial."
Gateway executive director Mike Proudfoot said there are seven heritage properties identified as being potentially affected by the perimeter road.
But he said the Wawryks' home is one of only two slated for removal - the rest involve lesser encroachments on the property that won't require demolition.
"We are still working on refining the alignment and we are still consulting on the design," he said, adding his team hasn't ruled out some sort of frontage road solution that would preserve access to more stranded properties.
Government officials have said up to 215 properties in Delta and Surrey could be affected by the perimeter road, but Proudfoot said that includes various land infringements that stop short of actual home demolitions.
He didn't have a current estimate of the total number of homes expected to fall.
"We'll be working closely with each of the home owners and negotiating fair deals," Proudfoot said.
He said the project's impact in various parts of North Delta has already been reduced based on consultations with residents.
The perimeter road moves into the environmental assessment process very quickly, he said. Once that's complete preliminary design work gets under way that's expected to nail down the exact properties that must be acquired.
Wawryk said she has yet to hear from Proudfoot directly.
But she has seen him before -in fact, she's related to him.
"He's married to my cousin," Wawryk said. "I only really met him a couple of years ago at the reunion."
The four-lane truck road is to connect port terminals and industrial sites along the river with Highway 1, forming a new corridor to take pressure off local streets.