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Colwood development helps preserve history

Efforts are underway to move one of the oldest buildings in Victoria and increase accessibility for the public.
Stuart Stark

As a part of a development in Colwood, efforts are underway to move one of the oldest buildings in Victoria and increase accesibility for the public.

Developers of 468 Landmark, a two building, 100 unit project to be built on Goldstream Avenue, are moving the historic Colwood Dairy building because it is in the way of the first phase of the project.

Currently the building is hidden from the road behind a residential house. It will be moved to the front of the property, where it will be visible from the road and accesible to the public.

Ground for the development was broken last Wednesday and celebrated with a small gathering. City of Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton attended, along with a number of councillors and respresentatives from other organizations and agencies.

Stuart Stark, a heritage restoration consultant hired by the builders, gave guests a short rundown on the history of the building.

Built in 1852 by Capt. Edward E. Langford, the small building served as a dairy on a cattle and sheep farm. Along with Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse, the Dairy and Cheese House is among the oldest buildings in Victoria, and one of the six oldest in the province.

Stark said that he admires the way the developer has worked with the City in regards to preserving the building and said that the intentions to move and restore the structure appear to be in step with proper heritage protection, given the situation.

“I think that conserving it is fabulous,” Stark said. “In an ideal situation it would be preserved right where it sits. ... I’m really pleased that people paid attention to it and have proposed to look after it.”

In terms of restoration, Stark is recommending a new roof and new windows and doors that keep with the period of the building. There are plans to have the building function as a museum, or display informative signage, but there are no definite plans yet.

Co-developer Jim McLaren said that his company saw the building as a great opportunity for marketing, as well as a chance to work with the community towards its preservation.

“I just think it’s a great project to work with, recognizing the council has the foresight of zoming this type of property and is trying to do something that’s collectively beneficial to everybody,” McLaren said. “I just think the team’s working together.”

McLaren said that they will start digging the hole for the building by the end of May, and that the Dairy House will be moved during that process. Sales will determine when the second phase of the project goes ahead, but the first phase is expected to take eight to 10 months to complete.